Al Basile review…June 26, 2018….

AL BASILE

ME AND THE ORIGINATOR

SWEETSPOT RECORDS  9862

THE TRUNK–POOR BOY’S DAY–WHAT HE CARRIED–MY J-O-B–USELESS GOOD ADVICE–LEFTY’S NINE LESSONS–SELF-RELIANCE–SHE MADE ME BELIEVE IT–THE BEE’S LOT–HERE COME YOUR TROUBLE–WHAT HE DESERVED–I FORGOT HOW TO CARE–LEARN TO DRAW–FIRST ONE TO GO–BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO–WHAT YOU GOT FOR ME–WHO OWNS IT?–ALL RIGHT–SOLO–A GO OF IT–YOUNG AND OLD–SO WRONG FOR SO LONG–CONFESSING THE BLUES–IF IT GOES, IT GOES–HOW IT GOES

Most fans know Al Basile as a multiple Blues Award Nominee for his trumpet playing and his humorous, thought-provoking albums for his own Sweetspot label.  Other folks know Al only thru his poetry, so, in celebration of Sweetspot’s twentieth anniversary, Al decide to release an album that showcased both of his “creative hats,” if you will.  With Duke Robillard on guitar and at the producer’s helm, “Me And The Originator” takes the listener on a mythical journey involving an imaginary musician who wrote the music to sets of lyrics he happened across that didn’t belong to him, but he never disclosed this vital fact along his career path as a bluesman.  It plays out as more or less a “blues history” of sorts, as far as how songs come to fruition and who can claim them as their own.  The proof is in the listening, as Al, the Duke, and the “usual suspects,” including Mark Texeira, Bruce Bears, Brad Hallen, and several other of New England’s finest sidemen, weave these intriguing tales….

Each individual spoken-word entry from Al is introduced by a short instrumental break composed by the Duke, each one unique to the particular entry.  In turn, each spoken-word segues’ into a song with a similar theme, and all are pure joys.  We enjoyed a story of self-reliance Al tells by using Rube Waddell as the example.  Rube pitched in the bigs around the turn of the 20TH Century, for the Pirates, St. Louis Browns, and Philadelphia Athletics, among others, in a career that ended in 1910.  “Lefty’s Nine Lessons” recounts the day Rube pitched after a long night of carousing, walking the bases loaded before calmly striking out the side after a visit from “the Skipper.”  “Learn To Draw” speaks on “pictographic ambiguity” and things not always being what they seem to be on the surface, and “First One To Go” expounds upon this theme as a long-term love affair hits the skids.

This album was a labor of love for Al Basile, carefully crafting a poem to introduce a song, and the Duke and the other sidemen brought ’em all to life.  “Me And The Originator” will appeal to both Al’s poetic and musical camps, and is truly the most unique set of his illustrious career!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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