Billy Price review…June 16, 2018…

BILLY PRICE

RECKONING

VIZZTONE RECORDS  VT-BP-03

39 STEPS–DREAMER–RECKONING–NO TIME–I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY–I KEEP HOLDING ON–ONE AND ONE–GET YOUR LIE STRAIGHT–NEVER BE FOOLED AGAIN–EXPERT WITNESS–LOVE BALLAD–SYNTHETIC WORLD–YOUR LOVE STAYS WITH ME

East coast soul stalwart Billy Price has been carryin’ this bidness on since the 1970’s.  In 2016, he won a Blues Music Award for Best Soul-Blues Album with “This Time For Real,” a brilliant collaboration with Otis Clay.  His latest, and sixteenth overall, is entitled “Reckoning,” for the Vizztone Label.  Joining Billy for this fine set of soul-flavored blues is a stellar cast including Alex Pettersen on drums, Jim Pugh on keys, Jerry Jemmott on bass, and uber-producer Kid Andersen (at Kid’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA), on guitar.

The thirteen cuts include some penned by Billy, Jim Britton, and Fred Chapellier, alongside several classic covers.  All these cuts give Billy a leg up in telling us fans all about the game of love and how it’s played, both good and bad.  Gettin’ out while the gettin’s good in a bad relationship is the theme of the set opener, where our hero only needed “39 Steps to my freedom!”  Billy’s a man who’s been done wrong more than once, and has become an “Expert Witness” when it comes to spotting a cheater!  This one has a strong, gospel-ly, testifyin’ vibe, and features Nancy Wright on the tenor sax solo.  Another cheatin’ song has a stone Stax or Hi vibe, with Kid’s greasy guitar setting the tone, as Billy tells this lover, “if you’re gonna tell a lie, might as well make it good,” on “Get Your Lie Straight.”  Billy gets his love groove on, too, with the smoky-sweaty Booker T. Jones/Eddie Floyd chestnut, “I Love You More Than Words Can Say,” and keeps that good-lovin’ stroke goin’ with one of our all-time favorites, a classic from our youth, (hey–we fell in love to this one back in the day!), “Love Ballad,” originally performed by the group LTD, and presented here from Billy with all the passion and soul of the original.

Our other favorite was the title cut.  It opens with a hellfire-and-brimstone preachin’ intro from Marcel Smith, as Billy testifies over the horn section and Kid’s shimmering guitar to society as a whole, warning that someday soon, “there’s gonna be a Reckoning.”

Billy Price continues his legacy as one of the most dynamic artists in the soul-blues camp of contemporary blues.  “Reckoning” finds him at the top of his game, with a sho’ nuff hi-octane set!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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