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Album Review

One of the most exciting roots blues groups ever to come out of the Ann Arbor/metro Detroit area, Al Hill & the Love Butlers have everything going their way on this release. Pianist/guitarist/vocalist Hill has a distinctive, soulful voice, and his playing is tasty and literate. He also proves an excellent songwriter, as evidenced on seven of the 12 cuts. Electric bass guitarist Bill Lewis, drummer Andy Conlin, guitarist Dave Farzalo, tenor saxophonist Eric Korte, and trombonist John Ferry provide terrific support. Helping out here and there are saxophonists Mark Kieme and Mark Berger, trombonist Chris Smith, and vocalists Roy Wachtel, Sue Gillis, and Whit Hill. Of the original compositions, the best is "One Way Ticket," a boogie shuffle with cool backup vocals and a Little Feat-type infused coda. There are two instrumentals — the jump blues "Jump Back" features a sweet twin guitar attack by Hill and Farzalo, while "Skulkin'" is an R&B midnight creeper. The deliberate title track finds Hill evoking a Freddie King-ish guitar sound, and "Nothing I Can Do" is a good-time boogie tune, with Hill's finely crafted vocal and piano coming to the forefront. At his most lowdown and brokenhearted, Hill pines on the ballad "What's It Gonna Be?" Also included are right-on renditions of the classics "Train Kept a Rollin'," "Worried Life Blues," "Down the Road Apiece," and "Early in the Morning." As it stands, this is a solid document of a well-rehearsed working band that knows what to do and when to do it. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better, more consistent debut recording from any group. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Willie Mae, Al Hill & the Love Butlers
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: 1998

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