Any doubts as to just how good a Singer, Songwriter, and Cornet player Al Basile is, can quickly be put to rest after only a few moments of listening to his great new release, “At Home Next Door”, his ninth Duke Robillard produced album. Even better news about Al Basile’s new release is that it is also a double album release, with one CD featuring his Blues Songwriting and Performing with his own Label, Sweetspot Records, a tenure lasting now 14 years, and a second CD featuring new songs which are done in the a 60’s Memphis Style.
As with all of Al’s previous releases, Duke Robillard, his former boss when he played in the band, Roomful Of Blues, not only produced but also performed on them, including this one, on all Tracks, as Guitarist. In addition to Duke Robillard, Al has also drawn from a wide area of the Northeast, adding some of the best Bluesmen going, featuring no less than 16 great musicians on “At Home Next Door”.
The first CD is called “At Home With The Blues”, and consists of 14 great Tracks that thoroughly explore not only Swing Blues, but also Chicago Style Blues and a few others. For me, I like a little more of the Bluesier side than the Swing side, and there is lots of great Bluesier side stuff on “At Home With The Blues”, with a few of my favorites being, Track 4, “Termites In My Kitchen”, Track 6, “Just A Heartache”, and Track 14, “80 Bells”.
“Termites In My Kitchen” is a Harmonica laced beauty featuring Ray Norcia on Harp. It also features some great stuff from Bruce Katz on Keys. “Just A Heartache”, another really nice number, with this one featuring Jerry Portnoy on Harp. Duke Robillard also really shines with his Guitar playing especially around the halfway mark. “80 Bells” is the closer for “At Home With The Blues” and is played with a Acoustic Delta flare. According to the CD Booklet, it looks like it was only Al, Duke, and Max Teixiera (Drums) playing on this Track, but really it was the Al and Duke show for sure as the Drums were just to subtle. A wonderful Track to end “At Home With The Blues”.
The second CD is called “Next Door To The Blues”, and consists of 13 Tracks and it seems to cover more ground than “At Home With The Blues” also featuring Swing, Soul, Funk, Jazz, and more, and as the album’s name implies it is truly music that is “Next Door To The Blues”. This one really showed off the other side of Al Basile and shows us all how much of a complete master of music, of many genres, Al is.
Now like I said previously, I enjoy the more Blues Style genres, but I am telling you right now, that I really enjoyed the wonderful potpourri of musical styles other than Straight Blues that Al put together for “Next Door To The Blues”. The singing and the music is just to darn good to not like.
“At Home Next Door”, is my second intro to Al Basile and his wonderfully majestic music, and it was equally good, if not better, this time around. Al has exactly what it takes to capture your attention, regardless of what musical genres you prefer.
5***** for sure for “At Home Next Door”, Al Basile’s amazing double blast of great music.
Favorite Track Overall… “Miss Dissatisfied”… One of the nicest songs I have heard, so far in 2012.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
mp3 320 kbps | 291 MB | UL | TB