The Andy T. Band review…May 26, 2017….

THE ANDY T BAND

FEATURING ALABAMA MIKE

AND SPECIAL GUESTS NICK NIXON AND ANSON FUNDERBURGH

DOUBLE STRIKE

AMERICAN SHOWPLACE MUSIC  ASM 7215

I WANT YOU BAD–SOMEBODY LIKE YOU–DEEP INSIDE–SWEET THING–I FEEL SO BAD–JUANITA–MUDSLIDE–SAD TIMES–DOIN HARD TIME–DRUNK OR SOBER–I WAS GONNA LEAVE YOU–DREAM ABOUT YOU–WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO WRONG

This review may wax a bit long, and more than a bit sentimental, so please bear with us, as there is much that needs saying.  The latest album from the Andy T (Talamantez) Band is both a heartfelt look at the past,  as well as a glimpse into  a bright future.  The album is entitled “Double Strike,” for American Showplace Music, and features Andy on guitar, with guitar also from co-producer Anson Funderburgh, Larry Van Loon on keys, Johnny Bradley on bass, Jim Klingler on drums, and Greg Izor on the harp.  The Texas Horns–Kaz Kazanoff, John Mills and Al Gomez–complete the classic R & B sound for this set.

This set also is likely to be the last recordings of the legendary James “Nick” Nixon, a member of the Andy T. Band since 2011, and includes three previous, highly-acclaimed albums, all reviewed elsewhere within this forum.  Nick’s recent health issues have forced him to scale back his workload, and another member of our hugely-extensive blues family, Bob Corritore, mentioned Alabama Mike Benjamin, veteran of the Bay Area scene, to sing in Nick’s absence.  After a few trial runs, the deal was done, and Alabama Mike joined the band. For this set, Mike has lead vocal on six cuts, with Nick also having six.

Andy T’s guitar holds it all together, with his West Coast, T-Bone Walker-meets- B. B. King swing, and he lets the singers do what they do best.  Alabama Mike has a great high tenor vocal that fits well within the band’s sound, and he has a gospel background, as does Nick.  Mike kicks things off with a rousing rocker, “I Want You Bad,” then hits a sweet, soulful stride with Larry Van Loon’s original,  “I’ve been looking for Somebody Like You,” where “today wasn’t promised, and  tomorrow’s not sure.”  Mike Flanigan’s B-3 drives Mike’s read of one of Nick’s originals, a vintage “since you left me” song,  “Sad Times,” which utilizes Mike’s upper-register vocals.  And, everyone has a good time with the slow-groove of “Doin’ Hard Time,” which, as Mike puts it, is easy, when you got a warden for a woman!  He closes the set with a Kaz Kazanoff song, “Where Did Our Love Go Wrong,” which follows  that sweet, New Orleans, Fats Domino groove.

Nick’s cuts were just what we expected from our old friend.  “Deep Inside,” featuring harp from Greg Izor, has a Jimmy Reed lope, and has Nick’s signature growl!  His gospel roots show thru on the downright-churchy tale of our lovelorn hero “callin’ your name,” “Juanita.”  And, nobody can rock a rhumba like Nick Nixon can, and that’s sho’ nuff evident on his read of Goree Carter’s tale of loving a wine-headed woman, no matter if she’s “Drunk Or Sober.”

If these are indeed Nick’s last recordings, we wish to thank him for his lifetime of contributions to blues,  gospel,  and R & B, and, especially, his rich history with the vibrant Jefferson Street scene in the Fifties and Sixties.  And, Nick, thanks most of all for being our friend!  Alabama Mike, we want to welcome you into this big, extended family, and say to Andy T that, brother, you pulled it all together to make “Double Strike” a reality!  Peace and love to all….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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