Lou Pride is a class gentleman. I first became acquainted with him from an album issued on Ichiban. I was quite pleased when in 2002 David Earl issued Words of Caution on his Severn label, a strong soul-blues effort. After following up with a reissue of Pride’s earliest recordings, The Memphis/El Paso Sessions, in 2005 Severn issued the outstanding Keep On Believing. It has been over five years and we are perhaps due a new Lou Pride recording. The man’s talent merits it. My review below originally appeared in the December 2005-January 2006 DC Blues Calendar (then the DC Blues Society’s newsletter) and the March-April 2006 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 280). Severn Records sent me my review copy.
Severn Records latest new disc is by the terrific soul-blues belter, Lou Pride, Keep on Believing. Mostly comprised of Pride’s originals, Pride’s performances benefit from a strong studio band that includes the fabulous Texas guitarist Jon Moeller, Benjie Porecki on keyboards, Steve Gomes on bass and Robb Stupka on drums, Backing vocalists on the disc include Lady Mary and Margie Clarke, two of the D.C. area’s finest female singers along with Eddie Jones, the leader of the old school group, The Young Bucks. Also on this session is a full horn section punching out their riffs using Willie Henderson’s arrangements.
After the strong groove of Midnight Call, Pride handles his one cover on this disc, Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain, with his vocal complemented by his vocal that does not overuse his falsetto towards the end. A quote notes a touch of Bobby Bland in his approach, but to these ears Al Green and Otis Clay are more apt touchstones for his singing. The relentless groove on I Can’t Hold It, suggests the classic Hi Rhythm section with a strong, concise guitar solo from Moeller. The topical plea of Love Will Make It Alright, with its hope to change this world of hate and strife is followed by a terrific soul ballad with a great vocal and lyric, I Want to Hold Your Hand, and the medium tempo-ed lament Another Broken Heart.
The remainder of this disc keeps up this high level with some exquisite playing and Pride’s strong singing for a terrific, soulful session. Another really fine release from David Earl’s label.