Two exciting releases this week, one from a rising southern blues combo expanding their repertoire, and the other a special album from a legend facing the ultimate blues: A life-or-death malady staring him in the eye.
Royal Southern Brotherhood dips into folk and rhythm and blues as well as the southern rock and blues that’s been their defining tone so far. heartsoulblood also carries a political tone, opening with World Blues, a song calling for people to rise against corruption and tyranny, and closing with Takes a Village and a John Lennon-esque Love and Peace.
She’s My Lady is a nice R&B piece that has a very familiar ring to me. RSB sounds very similar to a 70s group that I just can’t name offhand. Maybe it’ll come to me later.
Of course, there’s blues. Rock and Roll is an upbeat blues rock number. Groove On and Here It Is are a couple of jazzy tunes, the first being the actual title track (I can’t wait to hold you, my heart, my soul my blood) and Cyril Neville standing out on percussion on the latter.
They get down with some real rocking on Callous and Ritual, then slow things down a bit with a fine love ballad, Shoulda Known.
RSB is progressing very well. Mike Zito and Devion Allman have put together a solid group of all-stars to form a unique and superb whole. It has them stretching themselves out, especially Zito, but they have all the energy and desire to keep this running.
There have been updates here on Walter Trout‘s condition, and I won’t go into details here, except to say that he is recovering very well. The Blues Came Callin’ was recorded in the weeks leading up to Trout’s hospitalization, and from photos and videos it can be seen that he had lost weight and strength. He still belts it out on the guitar, though, and this is classic Trout. Not his best, but a moving collection from a blues rock master.
Some of Callin’ is autobiographical, self-reflection at a time of personal adversity. In Wastin’ Away, Walter sings about his frustrations over his recent limitations and wishing he could do some things over, but grateful for his musical gift. The Bottom of the River is a recollection a near death experience.
Walter is reunited with John Mayall on keyboard in Mayall’s Boogie and the title track. Trout and Mayall collaborated in the 80s in Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, a breakthrough early in Trout’s career. His solo career came soon after. The rest is history.
Walter may not be touring soon, but he’s still got it on the guitar and nothing will stop him from churning out more as he recovers. There’s a lot to look forward to.