Al Basile review…September 19, 2019….

AL BASILE

B’S HOT HOUSE

SWEETSPOT RECORDS  9922

SO-CALLED STORYTELLER–FIVE ROADS–RAZOR WIRE–TRY ONE–DON’T FOOL WITH THE TRUTH–GIVE ME THAT LOOK–LOOKING FOR A COOKIE–CAN’T KEEP ME FROM DREAMING–I SEE YOU THERE–I AIN’T CHANGING–YOU DON’T KNOW LONESOME–WHAT DOGS WANNA DO–TALKING IN A ROOM–TIME HAS MADE A FOOL OF ME

Al Basile had an impressive resume’ way before his solo career began in 1998.  He was the first trumpet player for Duke Robillard’s Roomful Of Blues back in the day, and he continues to be a published poet.  Al’s an eight-time Blues Music Award nominee, and his latest set for his own Sweetspot label, combines his musical chops with his poetry skills, resulting in “B’s Hot House.”  Herein, this set, produced by old friend Duke Robillard, who also doubles on guitar, is a blend of Memphis, Excello, and straight-blues grooves, with lyrics, as per usual in an Al Basile album, dealing with topical subjects throughout.

The set positively brims with highlights.  Elements of Booker T. Jones can be heard in Duke’s guitar lines over a tune about a cheatin’ lover who’s always feedin’ Al that piece of “Razor Wire.”  A cha-cha beat leads the story of our hero at the county fair seeking a sweet treat, but the girl with the tray of cookies disappears into thin air, leaving him still “Looking For A Cookie.”  A fine trumpet break mid-song is augmented by some of Duke’s spot-on chicken-pickin!

You do not have to be a Phi Beta Kappa to figure out the subject of “Don’t Fool With The Truth,” as this person “lies faster than a hummingbird’s wings,” and who touts “what’s true is fake!”  The set closes with a cautionary tale for us all to ponder.  With a slow groove set over Bruce Bears’ organ, Al comes to grips with his own mortality, realizing that one can never be young always, the poignant “Time Has Made A Fool Of Me.”

A new set from Al Basile is always thoroughly enjoyed in our house.  We know we are going to get a cool shot of vintage-styled blues with a contemporary twist from an excellent musician and master storyteller.  The cool thing about “B’s Hot House” is sticking around to see how all the stories end!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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