Monday, July 11, 2011
F & G Band featuring Edlene Hart -- "Grease Up Yo' Strutt"
There are times when I really love this blog. I get to bring attention to some great blues, music that you might never hear about if not for me. This time out is one such occasion. This is a very fine cd! The F & G Band is Edlene Hart, lead vocals, backing vocals. She has toured the world, including Africa, as the lead with the Glory Gospel Singers based in Harlem, has won the world famous Apollo Theater's amateur night TWICE, and has sung with and for countless people, including Tony Bennett and Isaac Hayes...she even sang for the Pope! Sly Geralds bass, vocals and co-producer along with Suzanne & Tom Foscino. He has toured and recorded with Al Green, Maceo Parker, Cindy Lauper, Bill Perry and so many more. Tom Foschino, drums, performed, recorded and toured with the legendary Blues Hall of Famer, Sam "Bluzman" Taylor for many years before Sam's passing. Tom also performed with Sweet Suzi for many years, heading to the IBC three times. On guitar here are Bill Marino, Chuck Russell, and John Anderson--all of them very good players and they add their own style to the songs they appear on. Special guests include Lil Cliff Bernard, of Lil Cliff and the Cliffhangers, on harmonica and backing vocals on one song, and Tim Mitchell, on vocals, guitar, keyboards, and/or bass on eight songs. Tim is currently touring as the lead singer and bass player of the Javier Vargas Blues Band, playing all over Europe and Asia, recently doing a short stint of shows in Russia. During the 80s, Tim was James Brown's musical director. The songs are all written by Suzanne Foschino and Sly Geralds, thus the F & G in the title.
The songs are a departure from the current "lead guitar, bass and drums" style that seems to be in fashion. Nothing here is that simple. On this cd the players follow the vocals, providing a "deep pocket" to carry the songs along. It feels old-school at first, similar to the High Records sound by Al Green back in the day--but it sounds great. "Mama Said," the first song, is tight, sassy and rich, with Tim Mitchell creating a horn section and Chuck Russell and John Anderson's guitars surrounding Edlene with great playing. And Edlene really brings the goods. Here and throughout I am blown away by the way she sounds--strong, confident, awesome. We may not have heard her before, but Edlene makes the case that she is a singer to be reckoned with. Things continue to cook on the next track, "Can't Get Your Man Off The Rack." The next track, "Caught Between The Lost And Found" slows things down just a bit and features some great guitar playing by Chuck Russell. Things pick up again with "You Don't Sing The Blues, The Blues Sing You," which features Edlene's sweet soaring vocals along with Lil Cliff on harp and backing vocals and Bill Marino on guitar. "One Good Cry," the next track, is my favorite song on the disc. Edlene's vocals are terrific, but I am won over by the lead guitar on this slow blues, which is by Tim Mitchell. And the next six tracks are just as good as the first five! Of special note is the duet by Edlene and Sly on "Seeing Eye To Eye, Maybe Toe To Toe" which describes the current battle of the sexes in song. In a perfect world this would be a hit all over the radio....but anyway, it's a contender for Bruce's song of the year.
I enjoy this cd very much. I'm impressed by the cool heat of this band, and especially by Edlene Hart's vocal abilities. You need to hear this music. This an indy release. You can buy it at http://www.fandgmusic.com