Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It

Shawn Amos’ “The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It” (Put Together) is recording containing covers of some classic blues with a few originals. Amos is the son of Wally “Famous” Amos and R&B singer Shirlee May, who grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970’s when his father was booking legendary Motown acts like Marvin Gaye.

Produced by Steve Jordan, Amos’ vocals and harmonica are supported by his trio of Don Medina (drums), Chris Roberts (guitar) and Ed Terrio (bass), along with Anthony Marinelli (Hammond B-3 organ) and Gia Ciambotti and Kim Yarbrough (vocals). It opens with a straight cover of Junior Wells Delmark LP rendition of "Hoodoo Man Blues" with the guitar perhaps a bit too up front in the mix. Shawn Amos certainly sings with animation yet avoids going over the top.

(The Girl Is) Heavy" is a number with somewhat simple lyrics and a pretty direct approach with the guitarist making evocative use of tremolo while "I'm the Face" is a swamp blues rock that adapts "Got Love If You Want It" melody as Amos sings about being the big wheel. There is some restrained guitar playing on this this which contrasts with the guitar fireworks on the cover of Elmore James’ "Something Inside Of Me." My complaint is the guitar is mixed too upfront in the mix. Amos certainly sings with fervor although he will not make people forget Elmore James, but is not too shabby.

Junior Wells’ influence is also evident on rendition of "Good Morning, School Girl" including adapting Well's vocal mannerisms such as "hey hey" and “ooh ooh wee.” The album closes with a passionate plea whether his woman even notices he is here, "Sometimes I Wonder.” There is nothing new here, but Amos brings a fair amount of personality to his performances and brings plenty of fervor to this recording.

I received from a publicist and Rev. Shawn Amos has a new recording which I look forward to listening to. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2014 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 357).  Here is a video of the making of this recording.

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