Monday, January 01, 2007
Frankie Lee - Standing at the Crossroads
It was at least a couple decades ago that I first had a chance to catch vocalist Frankie Lee at the long gone NY club Tramps where he sdhared the stage with singer-steel guitarist Sonny Rhodes and backed by the New Jersey All Stars. After Rhodes was featured for the first set, guitarist Bobby Murray took the stage for an instrumental and the band changed from a competent backing groupm, to a tight, mroe focused unit and when Lee came up for his set, it was a terrific evening of soul-blues with his strong gospel-rooted singing and some strong material. Bruce Bromberg and Dennis walker produced an excellent album on Hightone, The Ladies and the Babies, and whenever Frankie Lee made it to the DC area at either Marc Gretchel's Twist and Shout or Tornado Alley, I made it a point to catch him. My significant other also was a fan of his (she is more a pop and country fan) and Gretschel even labelled her the President of the Frankie Lee fan club. Lee was featured at one of the early DC Blues Festivals although it has been several years since he has been in DC with the late nineties collapse of the blues touring circuit.
Lee has a wonderful new disc on Blues Express called "Standing at the Crossroads" that Dennis Walker produced and contains a mix of uptempo grooves like 'Where Have You Been All My Life,' and down in the alley deep soul (Johnnie Taylor's 'I Need Lots of Love' and 'Think What It's Doing To Me') along with some gospel mixed in including the Soul Stirrers (?) 'Mary Don't You Weep.' Some real nice support here and Lee is typically intense form. Hopefully this will get him a bit more exposur and also touring a bit more. This came to me a little bit too late to include in my Ouitstanding Blues of 2006 list, but well worth you checking it out.