AND THE BOSTON BLUES ALL-STARS
FIFTY SHADES OF BLUE
DELTA GROOVE MUSIC DGPCD 171
EVERYTHING I DO IS WRONG–FIFTY SHADES OF BLUE–SAD BUT TRUE–HEARD THAT TUTWILER WHISTLE BLOW–IF YOU WANT TO GET TO HEAVEN–DON’T KEEP ME WAITING–THE BLUES NEVER SLEEPS–TOO LATE FOR COFFEE–DIAMONDS AND PEARLS–CRY A MILLION TEARS–IN THE QUICKSAND, AGAIN–YOUR TURN TO CRY–BLUES FOR DAVID MAXWELL
Anthony Geraci knew he wanted to play the piano by age four, so his parents started him on an old upright. He’s certainly come a long way, as he is a founding member of both Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and Sugar Ray (Norcia) and the Bluetones. In the Boston area, as well as anywhere the blues are played, these guys are kings. And, Anthony has assembled an A-list of backing players for his latest set for Delta Groove Music, “Fifty Shades Of Blue.” It is thirteen original tracks of deep blues, jazz-inflected roots music, and a couple of dynamite instrumentals that show the depth and breadth of Anthony’s talents as a player and composer.
Anthony states that he doesn’t sing, but he hired the best singers he knew for this set. And, Monster Mike Welch is on guitar throughout. Mike and Darrell Nulisch open the proceedings with the plaintive story of a man trying to get past the fact that “Everything I Do Is Wrong.” Michelle “Evil Gal” Wilson adds vocal on “If You Want To Get To Heaven, you got to go through Hell,” with Anthony’s acoustic piano adding the backdrop of the pain she feels in this song. Toni Lynn Washington knows what she wants from a lover, and just how to get it, namely, “Diamonds And Pearls!”
Sugar Ray Norcia adds vocal and harp to several cuts, too. Monster Mike’s slide drives the Delta-inspired “Sad But True,” as Sugar Ray blows a fine solo. And, the slow groove of “I Heard That Tutwiler Whistle Blow” has the feel of vintage Muddy, as Ray sings of “riding that train to Heaven, with my baby and the Lord.”
As good as all these are, we had two that stood out to us. Anthony’s piano strikes a jazzy chord as Sugar Ray and Michelle are the playful lovers in the title cut, complete with “blindfolds” and “handcuffs on the bureau!” The set closes on a poignant note as Anthony pays tribute to a recently-passed giant of blues piano with the instrumental, “Blues For David Maxwell.”
Anthony Geraci has been a major player in contemporary blues for over thirty-five years. He steps up as bandleader with a little help from his many friends in this excellent set of “Fifty Shades Of Blue!” Until next time… Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.