On her first release in four years and seventh since her 1993 debut, Swim Away, Toni Price takes the listener on a rollicking ride through American roots music. Joined by an all star cast of backing musicians including guitarists David Grissom, Derek O’Brien, and Johnny Moeller, drummers George Rains and Frosty Smith, and The Texas Horns- John Mills on baritone sax, Kaz Kazanoff on sax and Al Gomez on trumpet, Price has all the support she needs for her stylistic trip through funk, soul, R & B and, of course, the blues. Kicking things off with the funk/soul amalgamation of the Jesse Winchester penned title track, Price quickly shifts gears with the rocking "What I’m Puttin’ Down" where Grissom’s smoking fret work pushes the song into territory that would comfortably fit on any number of blues rock discs by the likes of Foghat or Savoy Brown. Like an I Pod on random play the disc next ventures into Allen Toussaint’s horn driven New Orleans groove fest, "Mean Man", and then into the funky "Am I Groovin’ Up", which features rich background vocals compliments of Anthony Ferrell, Leeann Atherton and Rich Brotherton. While all of the material makes good use of Price’s expressive voice she really gets a chance to shine on slow burners such as Isaac Haye’s "Leftover Love" and on the simmering "Gravy" where she looks at the odd order of priorities found in modern society all the while evoking thoughts of Bonnie Bramlett with a playful lilt to her voice. The blues enter the room on "Right Where I Belong" and "Poor Little Fool" which simmer at a low boil until she turns up the heat on the brassy "Runnin’ Out" which, in turn, gives way to the charging southern soul groove of Booker T. Jones’ "Sorry About That" where the call and response chorus and the stop action groove should get the booty’s bumpin’ at your next rent party. While blues purists will look in vain for shuffles and boogies, this is a well done disc featuring the soul, R & B and funk that are the first cousins of the blues. Price sums up the release best on the Don Bryant penned "Ninety Nine Pounds" where she proclaims herself to be “ninety nine pounds of natural goodness and ninety nine pounds of soul.” Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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