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Review: 'Big Al'
'Soul Blue'   

-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '2006'

Our Rating:
Having never seen Big Al (http://jamnite.net) in person, I cannot testify to the name. Is he walking tall? Living large? One thing is for sure, Big Al has quite the voice. Unlike other modern blues musicians who try to ape the gravelly passion of their ancestors, Big Al can actually summon the 3 a.m. emotions of the greats. And, that my friend, is not hype; it is the shattering truth.

As you can figure out from the title, Big Al is as inspired by classic soul as he is by the blues. That comes across vividly in his vocals, especially on the cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," which is less nostalgic here and more melancholic. That alone is a bracing change of pace. Imagine that: Somebody covering "Stand By Me" who isn't trying to imitate King. Instead, Big Al makes it his own, as if the song was written for him to sing.

But let's get to the blues which Big Al does so well. In fact, it's going to be hard for you to find a blues disc as consistently solid as this. The potent "Mother in Law Blues" and the dramatic "Empty Chair" will knock the whiskey from your lungs. There is no pointless studio slickness, no pop glop; the production is just right, putting Big Al's two-fisted voice in front of the mix without any added artificial ingredients.
  author: Adam Harrington

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Big Al - Soul Blue