Al Basile review October 14 2012….

AL BASILE

AT HOME NEXT DOOR

SWEETSPOT RECORDS 9222

DISC 1–GO BACK HOME TO THE BLUES–I GOT TO LOVE AND BE LOVED–PICKED TO CLICK–TERMITES IN MY BASEMENT–DADDY GOT A PROBLEM–JUST A HEARTACHE–I REALLY MISS YOU–NOT THE WRONG WOMAN–BAD INTENTIONS–ANNIE GET YOUR THING ON–TOO SLOW–HOUSEKEY BLUES–GIVE IT LIKE YOU GET IT–80 BELLS

 

DISC 2–TOO MUCH LIKE FATE–KEEP THAT HEART–STONY GROUND–ONLY JODIE KNOWS–A MYSTERY TO ME–SHE WAS SAYIN’ GIDDYUP (I WAS SAYIN’ WHOA!)–IT IS WHAT IT IS–A LITTLE TOO FAR–TRYIN’ TO IMPRESS THE GIRL–MISS DISSATISFIED–MY PHONE’S GOT A MIND OF ITS OWN–THE STREAK–THE CLOSER

Al Basile is the quintessential “triple threat,” but not in the way most people might think.  Sure, he’s a fantastic writer, singer, and cornet player, going back to the original incarnation of Roomful Of Blues with Duke Robillard  in the Seventies.  He’s also a published poet, and, up until a few years ago, a teacher/coach at a prominent independent school in Rhode Island.  And, on top of that, he has just released his ninth CD produced by Duke, “At Home Next Door,” on Al’s own SweetSpot Records label.  It’s a double dose of his incredible versatility as a writer and performer.

The first CD finds Al “At Home With The Blues,” and is a career-spanning fourteen tracks that go back to his founding of SweetSpot Records in 1998.  On these cuts, you’ll find a veritable “Roomful reunion,” as Duke adds guitar throughout, with horns and harp from most of the original Roomful alumni.  The leadoff cut, “Go Back Home To The Blues,” is a swingin’ affair that reminds us that sometimes the blues is really a man’s best friend.  Al channels his inner Muddy Waters on a couple of Chicago-styled numbers, “I Got To Love And Be Loved,” and “Termites In My Basement,” with harp from Jerry Portnoy and Sugar Ray Norcia, respectively.  This disc closes with one of thee most powerful tunes on any Al Basile record, “80 Bells.”  A somber look at our own mortality, it consists of only Al’s vocal and Duke’s “tolling bell” acoustic guitar in the background.

Disc Two finds Al “Next Door To The Blues,” as the harps give way to the horn section, and this set takes a decidedly-soulful turn.  Th songs deal with love and relationships, and the accompanying pitfalls.  Why a longtime lover up and leaves is still “A Mystery To Me,” done up as a tender, Stax-style ballad.  Everyone knows someone like “Miss Dissatisfied,” wher “no man could ever please her.”  The horn arrangements in   “A Little Too Far,” and “Keep That Heart”are nods to vintage Motown, and served as our favorites.

Al Basile has taken his penchant for a good story and a good poem and combined it with some of his best friends and their incredible musicianship to create “At Home Next Door.”  Al’s vocals are impressive, and Duke seemingly has a solo for every occasion.  This is perhaps Al Basile’s best work to date!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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