Robert Finley review…November 6, 2016…

ROBERT FINLEY

AGE DON’T MEAN A THING

BIG LEGAL MESS RECORDS BLM 0534

I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU–AGE DON’T MEAN A THING–LET ME BE YOUR EVERYTHING–IT’S TOO LATE–SNAKE IN THE GRASS–COME ON–MAKE IT WITH YOU–YOU MAKE ME WANT TO DANCE–IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE TWO PEOPLE?

Robert Finley, hailing from Bernice, LA, has been playing guitar since age eleven, when he spent money his father had given him to buy shoes on a guitar.  He served in the Army as a guitarist and bandleader, and learned carpentry as a trade from his father to fall back on after his Army discharge.  His latest release, “Age Don’t Mean A Thing,” is the kind of album that has become darn near a “lost art,” as it were, because these nine cuts are the deepest, purest form of soul music one can imagine.  Robert has a passionate voice reminiscent of O. V. Wright, and, in our own Society here locally, guys such as Nick Nixon and Wigg Walker.

Robert is on guitar and vocals, and the backing corps of musicians is quite an incredible line-up.  Jimbo Mathus, the set’s producer, is all over this one, as is Stuart Cole, Howard Grimes, Reba Russell, and a host of others.  The set starts with a horn-and-keys-driven ode to a lover, “I Just Want To Tell You what your love has done for me.”  The title cut has some fine single-note guitar leads over a slow-jam groove, as Robert pleads his case to a younger lover, vowing to “get the job done.”  The quintessential “back door man” is the subject of “Snake In The Grass,” and Robert is the man torn between “my woman and my wife” in the poignant set-closer, “Is It Possible To Love Two People?”

We had two favorites, too.  With a horn section straight outta Fred Wesley’s and Maceo Parker’s playbook, and scratchin’ guitar licks that’d make Jimmy Nolen proud, we give you the dance-floor burner, “Come On.”  Robert really gets loose and has some fun with this party cut.  And, he puts a tremendously from-the-heart stamp on David Gates’ iconic “Make It With You.”

There ain’t no drum loops or “samples” on this one–there’s enough of that mess on what passes for contemporary R & B today.  Perhaps ole Muddy said it best–“if you need meat, go to the butcher/If you need bread, try the bakery.”  But, if you want some down-home blues the way it’s meant to be played, don’t go no further than Robert Finley, ’cause “Age Don’t Mean A Thing!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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