Al Basile review…September 22, 2015…

AL BASILE

B’S EXPRESSION

SWEETSPOT RECORDS  SST  9732

WHOLE LOT OF GOOD GOOD LOVIN’–IT WASN’T THAT GOOD–NOT LIKE I DO–DON’T YOU EVER GET TIRED OF BEING RIGHT?–I’M RUNNIN’ LATE–HAVE I GIVEN MY BEST?–NEVER GOOD ENOUGH–SOMETHING’S MISSING–ANSWER ME–I DIDN’T COME HERE TO LIE–EVEN JESUS FELL–THAT AIN’T BAD–YOU KNOW, YOU DON’T KNOW

Al Basile’s accomplishments would fill a book, so we are going to stop after we say he was a founding member of Duke Robillard’s Roomful Of Blues (on cornet), and received the first Master’s Degree from the Brown University Creative Writing Program.  As such, his songs play out like little five-minute novellas, and he’s earned perhaps the coolest nickname in all music, “The Bard of the Blues!”

His latest album for Sweetspot Records is his twelfth produced by the Duke, who adds guitar throughout.  It is entitled “B’s Expression,” thirteen original cuts that explore Al’s clever, philosophical looks at love, life, and relationships.  The cuts mostly follow a midtempo, horn-rich, Stax-like groove, with Al adding his tasteful cornet licks on several songs.

Al starts off with a touch of swagger in a message to all the lovely lady listeners—“I’ve Got A Whole lot Of Good Good Lovin’ going to waste!”  When you find out that something you always wanted wasn’t quite what you expected, you find out the hard way that it “Wasn’t That Good.”   This one has a bouncy rhythm, punctuated by Bruce Bears on keys.  Putting the past in the past and not falling back into old bad habits is the theme of “I’m Running Late,” as Al politely begs off an encounter with an ex.  A funky, strutting groove drives Al’s message that “If you ain’t got no groove, Something’s Missing.”

We had three favorites, too.  A lover who is totally into herself has Al feeling hopeless, and that no matter what he does, “it’s Never Good Enough.”  He waxes philosophically with Biblical references in “Have I Given My Best,” dealing with always trying to help others when you can, and makes us realize that, even when things look bleak, “three times up the hill to Calvary, even Jesus Fell.”

Al Basile is one of our favorite players in any genre’.  His songs are lyrically thought-provoking and insightful, and his playing and singing always impeccable.  “B’s Expression” adds to his ever-growing legacy!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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