Trampled Under Foot review…July 9, 2013…

TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT

BADLANDS

TELARC  TEL-34493-02

BAB BAD FEELING–DARK OF THE NIGHT–I DON’T WANT NO WOMAN–MARY–BADLANDS–YOU NEVER REALLY LOVED ME–PAIN IN MY MIND–I DIDN’T TRY–DESPERATE HEART–DOWN TO THE RIVER–HOME TO YOU–TWO GO DOWN–IT’S A MAN’S MAN’S MAN’S WORLD

 

The Schnebelen siblings—Sister Danielle on vocals and bass, brothers Nick on guitars and vocals and Kris on drums—left an indelible mark on the blues world when, while representing their hometown of Kansas City in the 2008 IBC’s in Memphis, they won the whole thing, and Nick took home the Gibson Flying V that accompanies the Albert King Award for most outstanding guitarist throughout the competition.  That victory opened a lot of doors for them, and they are “veterans,” if you will, of several highly-acclaimed albums already on their resume.’  For their Telarc debut, “Badlands,” the band’s maturity level really shines thru on twelve originals and one fascinating cover.

This set is produced by Tony Braunagel, perhaps best-known as the drummer for the Phantom Blues Band, who also recruited keyboard whiz Mike Finnigan to give the cuts added tone and depth.  The best barometer of the band’s “coming together,” tho, has to be in their songwriting and vocal growth.  Danielle’s soulful, hip vocals are spot-on, and she obviously had a good time with this material.  She plays the perfect scorned woman in the opening “Bad Bad Feeling,” then exercises her jazz chops on the band’s take on life on the road, where she’s always eager to “come on back Home To You.”  She shines again on the tale of the dangerously-deceptive maneater named “Mary,” set over a seductive rhumba beat.  And, she bares her soul on a dazzling read of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” which closes the set.

 

Brother Nick isn’t shy at the mic, either.  He rocks the joint on the driving “Don’t Want No Woman,” embellished by Mike’s B-3 work.  He plays some sweet dobro, too, in a song that hearkens back to the simpler times of our younger days, when “the spirit of the summertime” could always be found “Down By The River.”

We had two favorites, too, one from each sibling.  Danielle’s “You Never Really Loved Me” is not only a terrific slow-blues about a woman who realizes all too late that she’s in a one-way love affair, but it also serves as a showcase for her amazing vocal range, as she soars effortlessly thru the upper and lower registers over the course of this cut.  And, Nick goes positively old-school on the title cut, with an upper-register falsetto reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield and his socially-charged anthems of the Seventies on this tale of the plight of the poor in today’s society.

Trampled Under Foot are poised and ready for take-off into the stratosphere of contemporary blues, and “Badlands” is the launching pad!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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