14 new Al Basile songs in classic 60s Memphis style
3 time Blues Music Award nominee Al Basile's tenth solo release is a celebration of 15 years on his own Sweetspot label, produced by Duke Robillard with his band and Roomful of Blues alumni horns. It also features a duet with Sista Monica Parker.
REFLECTIONS IN BLUE – MAY 2014
former member of Roomful of Blues, Al
the aid of Duke Robillard on guitars throughout the album, a horn
section that is untouchable, including Rich Lataille and Doug James,
Mark Teixeira on drums, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass
and guest vocalist Sista Monica Parker. The new release, which
features 14 new originals by Basile, backed by a killer band that has
been there and done that so many times they could do it in their
sleep, sounds as if they could have been recorded on Stax in the
1960s except for the fact that they have a contemporary vibe that
puts them in the here and now. A top-notch musician, superb
songwriter and great vocalist, Al Basile is at the top of his game,
working his blend of blues Soul and R&B with a group of musicians
he has worked with over the past 25 years. This kind of
familiarity coupled with the band’s remarkable musical talents make
for an album that can be nothing but incredible. Al Basile is a
multi-talented individual, singer, songwriter, musician, poet,
playwright, writer, coach, teacher and mentor to more than can be
counted. What scares me most is that he is so very good in all
that he does. Woke
Up in Memphis is
blues, soul and R&B in the old-school tradition. Drawing
from experience for the material he writes and sings, Al’s work
cuts straight through to the hearts of his audience who identify with
his experiences as there is little that is not common to all men at
one time or another. This is one of those albums that has a
timeless quality. It will be just as powerful and relevant
twenty years down the road as it is today. A master at what he
does, Al Basile belts out his music with a passion that can only be
obtained when one is willing and able to open himself up to his
audience and pour it all out freely. On top of all his other
talents, Basile is a storyteller. To say that this may well be
his best work to date is tough given the scope of his accomplishments
but, one thing I can say without reservation is that I felt better
after listening to this album than I did before listening to
Up In Memphis could
easily be considered a modern masterpiece. If you like blues
and Memphis soul, this is a good album to add to your collection.
This is one piece I could recommend to anyone and everyone without
reservation. It doesn’t get much better than this. – Bill
BLUES IN BRITAIN -
IIf you have yet to discover Al Basile then this is as good a place as any to start – but beware … if you buy this you will be searching out its predecessors. (www.albasile.com)
BLUES BYTES -
Basile’s warm vocals are a great
fit with this material and he’s as comfortable on the soul and R&B
tracks as he is on the straight blues numbers. Each of his albums
finds him trying new things and moving in different musical
directions, absorbing the influences from his previous releases each
time. This approach makes for some interesting and compelling
listening. In my opinion, Woke Up In Memphis stands as his
best release yet, and I eagerly await his next musical venture.
Basile has always been a first-rate song writer and all tracks bear his signature. His lyrics are personal, incisive, and always interesting. The music has layers of textures and his use of horns provide a defining emphasis.
His new album, while grounded in the blues, travels in a number of directions as it incorporates elements of rock, jazz, and gospel. Guest vocalist Sista Monica Parker propels “Make A Little Heaven” into a gospel fused extravaganza. Add in “Saved By The Blues,” “Don’t Make Me Beg,” “One More Stone In The Pitcher,” and “Big Like Elvis,” and you have a nice selection of very listenable songs.
Al Basile has a lot of years and miles under his belt. Woke Up In Memphis is a fine addition to his legacy.
BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK -
With the release of "Woke Up In Memphis", once again, as always, Al Basile has managed to bring us another very enticing and entertaining set of Blues, R&B, Soul, and Gospel tunes with Vocals, Lyrics, and Musicianship, truly second to none, brought to the forefront with also a second to none group of exceptional artists.
I highly recommend "Woke Up In Memphis" for any lover of a infectious set of Blues, R&B, and Soul, cleverly and skillfully mixed with some really fine Gospel.
LIVING BLUES -
Resilient and rubbery rhythms, with some of the breeziest horn accompaniments this century's side of Soulsville, Basile's Woke Up in Memphis is toe-tapping class all the way.