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Keep the Fire Burnin'

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Album Review

Keep the Fire Burnin' — the second serving of sonic gumbo from the Crescent City sextet then known as Louisiana's Le Roux — offers up another batch of strong material, keeping in line with the band's self-titled predecessor. Bobby Campo (trumpet, flügelhorn, flute, congas, percussion, vocals), Tony Haselden (electric guitar, vocals), Leon Medica (bass), David Peters (drums, percussion), Jeff Pollard (electric and acoustic guitars, lead vocals), and Rod Roddy (Rhodes electric piano, acoustic piano, clavinet, Oberheim synthesizer, vocals) once again combine MOR rock with jazz, funk, and of course Creole R&B. Pollard's songwriting remains consistent, with Haselden also contributing two of the album's best entries, the affective "Call Home the Heart" and the provocative fusion-filled "Thunder n' Lightnin'." The opening track boogies with a tasty Cajun syncopation, highlighted by performances from Medica and Roddy. The aforementioned "Call Home the Heart" is an introspective heart/homesick tale from the road. Le Roux's considerable vocal harmonies shine during the chorus, bearing rich textural similarities to the three-part blends created by America and the Eagles. As if continuing on a contextual leitmotif, the driving "When I Get Home" is a celebratory indulgence, sporting more impressive licks from Roddy and Peters with Roddy's rapid-fire piano interjected for optimum effect. While on the subject of adding that little extra something, helping out with a string section score is legendary arranger Gene Page on Pollard's power ballad "You Be My Vision." Although they certainly get the Memphis vibe down, Le Roux fall short on their cover of Otis Redding's "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)," which sounds too polished around the edges to be a truly effective reworking. The jazzy "Feel It" is buoyed by Medica's expressive bass and a sultry melody recalling "Back Slider" from their first long-player. That groove carried over onto the excellent "Thunder n' Lightnin'," and presents a further opportunity to show off the band's superb singing. Both the relaxed shuffle supporting "Say It (With Your Heart)" and the funky closer, "Back to the Levee," are worthy of notice, particularly the latter, as it sets the tone for their next effort, the Jai Winding-produced Up in 1980.


Formed: Louisiana

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Named for a creole sauce, this unit came together working as an in-house rhythm section at Studio in the County, a major recording hub in Bogalusa, LA. Staff producer Leon Medica picked up the bass, Rod Roddy took the keys, Bobby Campo tooted the flute and horn, David Peters manned the drums, and Jeff Pollard stepped out in front with his guitar. The crew worked steadily behind local legends like Clifton Chenier and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Soon the quintet toured as the Jeff Pollard Band. Inking...
Full Bio
Keep the Fire Burnin', Leroux
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Pop
  • Released: Jun 01, 1979

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