Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

KENNY NEAL

LET LIFE FLOW

2008-08-21

On his Blind Pig debut after discs on Alligator and Telarc, and a three year health induced hiatus, Louisiana bluesman Kenny Neal calls upon his stints playing with a who’s who in the blues world to break out the wide arsenal of blues styles featured on this release. With a rich, expressive voice that recalls a younger Solomon Burke or even Rick Estrin of the Nightcats, Neal leads a horn heavy band through a number of self penned tunes as well as covers of material by Willie Dixon, Ivory Joe Hunter and his father, Raful Neal, Jr. "Let Life Flow" is an upbeat number with Neal’s stinging guitar adding a nice counterpoint to the saucy horn charts. "Louisiana Stew" and "Starlight Diamond" return Neal to his early swampy roots as a harmonica player while "Blues, Leave Me Alone" and "Another Man’s Cologne" are straight blues numbers featuring ample doses of Neal’s hollow body electric guitar. Ditto for the string laden "Fly Away" where Neal channels the smooth picking of B.B. King and Robert Cray. "Broken Dreams" features Neal with a gruffer voice lamenting the cruel turns of life over a sympathetic horn chart. On "You’ve Got to Hurt Before You Heal" Neal dips deep into southern soul for a smoldering ballad that covers old ground but still strikes a responsive chord. Despite its title and forlorn lyrics about a lost love Bleeding Heart is saved from the bummer bin by Lucky Peterson’s buoyant piano work. The biggest change up comes at the end with the latin tinged "It Don’t Make Sense You Can’t Make Peace". Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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