Happy Valentines' Day weekend, readers!
Today's column presents a newly released album from British soul mainstay Paul Carrack, a recently received boogie-woogie piano release from Bob Seeley and a new album from Norwegian progressive rockers Aunt Mary.
'Soul Shadows,' Paul Carrack (Carract-UK, HHHHH)
Paul Carrack has been serving lately as keyboardist/singer on Eric Clapton's tours; but oldies fans will remember his voice on "How Long Has This Been Going On" by Ace. and "Tempted" by Squeeze. Paul has also collaborated with Nick Lowe, Mike & The Mechanics and Roxy Music.
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He plays all instruments here except drums (his son Jack drums on most tunes), percussion, horns and orchestration.
The album is like old-school soul music despite the "one-man band" aspect.
My favorite songs include "Sweet Soul Legacy" (seems like a mission statement), "Sleep On It," the orchestrated "Let Me Love Again," the sincere "That's How I Feel" and "Say What You Mean."
Lovers of classic soul music will really dig this one.
'Industrial Strength,' Bob Seeley (Bob Seeley Music, HHHH)
This recently arrived November 2015 recording is the first of a series of studio recordings from Bob Seeley, "one of the world's premier boogie piano players."
This is solo boogie-woogie piano, which means a marginal audience; but it is excellent stuff that is unlikely to get repeated plays at my place.
Favorite tunes include "Bumble Boogie," the most energetic "Amazing Grace" performance ever, "Swingin' The Boogie," the cool title tune and the original "Early Morning Commute."
Boogie piano backers will enjoy this one greatly.
'New Dawn,' Aunt Mary (M Live/Wind Up Records, HHH)
This Feb. 12 release comes from a Norwegian band that has been around since the early 1970s and now has a reconfigured line-up.
The band entered the studio with original members, but bassist Svein Gundersen resigned before singer Jan Groth and drummer Ketil Stensvik were diagnosed with cancer.
That left the band's main songwriter, guitarist Bjorn Kristiansen forging ahead with new members (bassist Bernt Bodal and singer Glenn Lyse) after consulting with old band mates.
The album's dedicated to Stensvik and Groth; and the drummer still plays here.
Favorites include the swinging "Don't Keep Me Waiting," the complex chug of "Slave Parade," and the burbling "G Flat Road."
This is more musically straightforward than many "prog" releases.
Check it out!
In the next few columns, I plan to feature reviews of a Rockpalast performance by the late Albert Collins, an interesting EP from Brett Newski, a new recording from Gary Lucas & Jann Klose, a solo project from The Damnwells' Alex Dezen, a Gershwin collection sung by Willie Nelson and an interesting feature about Texas hardcore band Rigor Mortis.
Ricky Flake, a music fan and former punk rocker, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.