Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Al Basile "The Goods"
Here's a good cd that I don't want you to miss out on! Al Basile may be the best musician out there that you've never heard. Think of him as the current version of Southside Johnny back in the 80s--that underground artist that you just had to be hip to. Al Basile is that same artist now--a great singer, a great songwriter, a great cornet/trumpet player, front man with a great band--and once you're "in the know," he will be an indispensable part of your catalog.
This is Basile's seventh cd since 1998, following 2009's "Soul Blue 7" which reached # 12 on the Living Blues chart. He puts them out on his own label, Sweetspot Records, on his own schedule, with stellar sidemen. This time out features friend Duke Robillard on guitar and production, Basile on vocals and cornet, Doug James on horns, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Mark Teixeira on drums, Brad Hallen on bass, and special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama. Every song is intelligent, each lick is right on the money, and the lyrics tell the kind of stories worth hearing over and over. I like the opener "The Price (I Got to Pay)" which showcases the horn section and features sharp lyrics; and the crackling good piano-driven "Mr Graham Bell;" and the gospel-ish "Pealing Bells," which sounds like Basile has listened to Daniel Lanois' swampy roots-rock production with Bob Dylan. And there's even an original Christmas song! I especially enjoy hearing Basile and this great band with The Blind Boys of Alabama doing "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)" which sounds great, has a great message, and needs to become a modern classic.
This is a very strong release--even in a year with a lot of really good releases, this one is high in the running for Bruce's top 10 of the year! You can buy it at: http://www.albasile.com