Al Basile review…September 22, 2017….

AL BASILE

QUIET MONEY

SWEETSPOT RECORDS  SST 9782

BLUES GOT BLUES–SIMPLE AIN’T EASY–DO YOU EVEN KNOW?–WRONG TO BE RIGHT–QUIET MONEY–PUT SOME SALT ON IT–LINE BY LINE–THE TIME IS NOW–I WOULDA BEEN WRONG–NOT TODAY–TRUE TO FORM–YOU GOT TWO–WHO’S GONNA CLOSE MY EYES?

It’s been forty-four years since Al Basile joined Roomful Of Blues as their first-call trumpet player.  The man we all love to refer to as “The Bard Of The Blues” continues to release well-crafted sets that lean toward that classic jump-blues sound, and they are always filled with Al’s clever, insightful, and thought-provoking lyrics at the forefront.  His latest for Sweetspot Records, “Quiet Money,” features thirteen originals done up in the styles of his heroes—Lowell Fulson, Saunders King, Brother Ray and others–and also features Duke Robillard on guitar throughout.

The songs in this set cover a wide range of topics.  The set begins with a look at the declining state of the blues as a business, where, today, it’s called “blues, no matter what they play,” “Blues Got Blues Today.”  A jazzy groove runs thru another tune about relationships, when, “sometimes, it’s Wrong To Be Right.” and a man’s better off to just shut up, for sanity’s sake!

Al waxes philosophical concerning our mortality on two cuts.  A sort of stop-time pattern rides over Al’s look at dying, but, “just Not Today,  please Lord!”  The set closes as we find our hero facing the end alone, with the reverential plea of “Who’s Gonna Close My Eyes?”

We had two favorites, too.   We all grow up hopefully knowing right from wrong, but choices are sometimes tough–in fact, “Simple Ain’t Easy,” and sometimes “easy ain’t right!”  A great man once said that “tryin’ to love two, sure ain’t easy to do,” and Al’s spin on this worldly-wise saying plays out with the story of two guys with different outlooks—“I got no woman, You Got Two,” but the sordid consequences are always the same in the end.

The cool thing about Al Basile’s music is that you can put it on and dance your troubles away, but, if you stop and listen closely, you’ll see what a great communicator he is!  Give “Quiet Money” a spin, and enjoy one of the best players in contemporary blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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