Paul Gabriel review…June 18, 2013…

PAUL GABRIEL

WHAT’S THE CHANCE…

SHINING STONE RECORDS  SSC 0003

OLD TIME BALL–RIDE RIDE RIDE–WHAT’S THE CHANCE–328 CHAUNCY STREET–BABY I WISH–DEVIL’S DAUGHTER–ALL THAT TIME GONE–C M C–ROOMFUL OF BLUES–MAGIC–SOMETHING YOU GOT–FINE AT’TIRE–SPODABE

Guitarist Paul Gabriel has been somewhat of a “hidden treasure” in the New England area for over four decades.   He can be heard on albums by the late Harry Chapin, on Rory Block’s “Mama’s Blues” album, and with various bands of his own.  He’s also been friends with Duke Robillard since the early days of Roomful Of Blues, so it’s no surprise that the Duke is on board for Paul’s latest release for Shining Stone Records, entitled “What’s The Chance…”, an exuberant collection of twelve originals and one cover that showcases Paul’s rich history of guitar playing and songcrafting, as well as his mastery of several distinctive musical genres’.

Duke is the album’s producer, and guests on guitar on several cuts.  Paul is also joined by Mark Naftalin (o the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) on keys on two cuts, as well as the Roomful Of Blues horn section.

The whole set has that vintage sound and feel that it seems like all the players on the New England scene are comfortable with playing and well-versed in.  Check out the T-Bone Walker-inspired leadoff “Old Time Ball,” featuring  Duke on both electric and acoustic guitars.  The title cut is a sweet slab of neo-soul, and finds Paul seeking to rekindle an old flame.  Mark Naftalin adds piano to the torch-y “Devil’s Daughter,” and Paul delves deeply into his jazz roots for two swingin’ instrumentals, “C M C,” and “328 Chauncy Street.’  The lone cover has a decidedly New Orleans flavor, and the horn section adds that extra punch over Paul’s vocals on “Something You Got.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Fine At’Tire” recalls the days of Fifties’ cool-jazz, and features only Paul’s vocal and Mark’s acoustic piano.  And, a man who’s reached a crossroads with a lover first asks himself “what to do,’ then asks “the Lord to take me from this Roomful Of Blues.”  This one is a poignant, minor-key centerpiece of the set.

One can feel the chemistry between Paul Gabriel and the other players on this album.  As strong as the material is on “What’s The Chance,” it’s a good bet that he is poised for a national breakout!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

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