Saturday, February 13, 2016

Slam Allen - Feel these Blues

For years, Harrison 'Slam' Allen could be seen fronting the James Cotton Band with his guitar and vocals. For a few years he played on a cruise line (nice work if you can get it). He has returned to the blues scene and has a new recording "Feel These Blues" (American Showplace Music). In addition to his guitar and vocals, Slam is backed by a rock solid band of John Ginty on keyboards, Jeff Andersen on bass guitar and Dan Fadel on drums for a program of 11 originals and a rendition of Prince's "Purple Rain."

There is nothing fancy about Slam Allen with his rocking, B.B. King influenced guitar and his strong vocals. His  vocals strike me as his greatest strength although he is no slouch as a guitarist. The album opens with with the title track with its lament about being hard to find blues on the radio but he will keep laying down these blues playing  guitar while chanting you got to feel these blues. The B.B. King flavored shuffle "The Blues Is Back," another song dealing with the blues as a genre, and is a highlight of this recording with some searing guitar. "All Because Of You" is a solid original whose melody evokes the Gladys Knight hit "My Imagination," while "In September," is a nice slice of country soul with a terrific vocal. There is a funk groove for "35 Miles Outside of Memphis," as Slam sings about about stressful things on his mind but one of them sure ain't his woman, and followed by the intense slow, B.B. King styled blues "World Don't Stop Turning." Another strong straight blues in this vein is "You're Wrong." "Can't Break Away from That Girl" is another solid southern flavored soul performance, similar to some of Johnny Rawls recent recordings.

"Feel These Blues" closes with a lengthy interpretation of "Purple Rain," and one suspects this may have been popular on the cruises fortunate enough to have Slam Allen as an entertainer. Having seen Slam Allen several times, I can attest how entertaining he is performing and this is captured to some extent on this solid recording.

I bought this from Slam but also received a review copy from the record company. Here is Slam Allen in performance

No comments: