The Beauty of My Heart
Big Song Music
A new album from the singer, Lisa Biales, brings together some terrific covers and backing from members of The Phantom Blues Band, drummer Tony Braunagel (who produced this); guitarist Johnny Lee Schell (who engineered this); bassist Larry Fulcher; trumpeter Darrell Leonard and saxophonist Joe Sublett; along with keyboardist Jim Pugh; bassist Larry Taylor; bassist Chuck Berghofer (member of The Wrecking Crew); trumpeter Lee Thornberg; and others. The result is a very appealing recording.
The performances here include the jump blues revival of Mabel Scott's "Disgusted" with a terrific Joe Sublett tenor sax solo; a solid New Orleans funk reworking of Allen Toussaint's "I Don't Wanna Hear It" originally waxed by Betty Harris; a smoldering cover of Nina Simone's "Be My Husband"; a jazzy rendition of Lil Green's "Romance in the Dark" with the legendary Chuck Berghofer on acoustic bass; a moving rendition of Eric Bibb's "Don't Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" with brief solos by Jim Pugh and Johnny Lee Schell adding to its smokey atmosphere; and a spirited gospel performance of Alex Bradford's "Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody." She may have quite the voice of an Aretha but she puts everything in her delivery of this latter song's simple message affirming one's faith.
This is just an overview of some of the very enjoyable performances on this. One song of special note is "Crying Over You." This song has special significance for Biales, as it recorded in 1947 by her mother Alberta Rogers who also wrote it. The performance opens with the first verse of her mother's recording before Biales completes the performance as she sings yearning for her phone to ring as she is crying for her love. Chuck Berghofer is on double bass and Lee Thornberg plays a delightful trumpet solo behind Biales' charming vocal.
Lisa Biales has proven to be a real fine interpreter of blues and roots with her honeyed voice and natural, unforced delivery. She enchants here and, with superb backing, has produced another gem.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371). Here is Lisa performing "Romance in the Dark."