Darrell Nulisch, as some may know, was featured vocalist with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets prior to Sam Myers, and many will be aware of his own recent recordings for Severn that were quite well received as Nulisch showed himself comfortable and convincing in a more urban blues vein. On his latest Severn disc, Goin’ Back to Dallas, he has returned with ‘a straight-out blues CD.’ On this, he is backed by a solid quartet of guitarist Jon Moeller, keyboardist Kevin Anker, bassist Steve Gomes and drummer Robb Stupka on a set of interpretations of classic blues and idiomatic originals in the vein of the originals. This might be likened to some of the early Fabulous Thunderbirds in terms of the feel and making a strong personal statement in this vein.
There are a couple of solid covers of Sonny Boy ‘Rice Miller’ Williamson’s She’s My Baby and Too Young to Die, both sporting some nice harp in Miller’s style; along with Oscar Boyd’s Too Much, which is suggestive of Jerry McCain’s She’s Tuff Enuff; James ‘Thunderbird’ Davis’ Blue Monday, a nice modern minor key blues that was a hit for Z.Z. Hill; Jimmy Reed’s Shame, Shame, Shame; Freddie King’s Play It Cool; as well as Muddy Waters-styled original like That’s a Problem, or the title track which is an original in the vein of Rice Miller.
Nulisch delivers his vocals cleanly and soulfully, and plays some terrific harp in various styles, showing a bit of Little Walter on the last named number, while the band is really tight. Guitarist Moeller is especially noteworthy here with his crisp and responsive playing throughout, but the band is terrific as well. Certainly a release that should appeal to blues fans everywhere as Nulisch certainly has produced a marvelous release that perhaps breaks new ground but delivers plenty of solid, entertaining blues.
This review originally appeared in the July-August 2007 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 295). I received a review copy from wither the label or a publicist. Here is a video of Darrell from 2007 performing a Sonny boy Williamson number.