Monday, February 17, 2014

Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band Have Soul For Your Blues

Frank Bey shared gospel bills with the Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke, the Blind Boys of Alabama and others when singing gospel with his mother. As a teen he opened shows for Otis Redding and after committing himself to the blues, his career progress was undercut by a failing kidney. After several years of dialysis, he had a successful kidney transplant. A couple of years later he started making appearances with the Anthony Paule Band at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. In February 2013 they issued a solid live recording and now a year later Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band have a new recording, Soul For Your Blues on Blue Dot Records. 

What is striking is just how strong the musical pairing of Philadelphia singer Frank Bey with San Francisco’s Anthony Paule Band is. Presented is a nice mix of lesser know blues and soul classics with choice originals and interpretations of lesser know numbers. The opening number is Willie Mitchell’s I Don’t Know Why with Bey’s strong singing suggesting the late Solomon Burke and Mighty Sam McClain. Tony Lufrano plays deep soul organ here and on most of this disc. Paule and guest Kid Anderson are featured on Paule’s driving blues I’m Leaving You, followed by the Muscle Shoals groove of Christine Vitale’s deep soul original I Just Can’t Go On. Paule evokes Steve Cropper with his fills and brief solo on this. Rick Estrin adds harp to a humorous Vitale-Paule blues, Don’t Mess With The Monkey

There is a jump blues feel to Wyonnie Harris’ Buzzard Luck with riffing horns behind Bey’s strong vocal and a T-Bone Walker styled guitar solo. Vitale, Paule and Karen Falkner wrote You're Somebody Else's Baby Too, that has the feel of mid-sixties B.B. King flavor. There is a nifty arrangement of Percy Mayfield’s Nothing Stays the Same Forever, with Mike Rinta on tuba (he is on trombone most of the recording. In addition to Rinta, kudos go to Nancy Wright’s tenor sax and Steffen Kuehn’s trumpet for their playing throughout. Bey is superb here with a vocal that suggests what Solomon Burke might have done with this song. There is also a wonderful interpretation of John Prine’s Hello In There, which again displays how Bey brings some of the same interpretative magic to a lyric that Burke did and MacLean still does, while marvelous restrained backing by the Paule Band. 

The funky Smokehouse and an instrumental rendition of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco showcase the band. Rinta takes an outstanding trombone solo on the former as does organist Lufrano, while Paule displays a crisp delivery and imaginative playing on San Francisco which closes this disc out. It should be noted that I have attempted to select highlights, but the performances by Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band on Soul For Your Blues are first-rate throughout. This is a terrific recording.

I received my copy from a publicist. Here are the two in performance doing Ray Charles' Hard Times.

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