Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

TAD ROBINSON

REAL STREET

2019-09-16

If your musical sweet-spot is 70’s era soul, singer/harmonica player, Tab Robinson’s new outing with the Hi Rhythm Section (Charles Hodges, Hammond b3, Leroy Hodges bass, Howard Grimes, drums) will give you a nice sugar buzz. Having backed the likes of Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, Otis Clay and others on numerous gold and platinum albums and countless hits, this crew instinctively finds the soul pocket inside every song they play. Joined here by Joe Restivo on guitar, Kevin Anker on piano, Marc Franklin on trumpet, Kirk Smothers on sax and Devin B. Thompson on background vocals, Robinson and crew work their way through ten cuts that hit all the touchstones of classic soul with horn-drenched charts and impassioned vocals. Robinson’s voice is a force of nature with a strong mid-range and a powerful falsetto that can be compared to Al Green without a hint of blasphemy. While the bulk of the material is original, two covers give you the chance to be dazzled by Robinson’s voice in a more familiar setting: The Roy Orbison classic "You Got It" gets a sultry, horn-heavy reading that differs so much from the folky pop of the original as to render it almost unrecognizable while Bread’s soft-rock staple," Make It with You" hews closer to the original. Both profit from Robinson’s phrasing and command of his voice and add enough to the originals to make these the go-to versions the next time you want to hear either cut in a different light. The original material stands tall as well with the title track featuring some nice harmonica from Robinson before he hands off the lead to Restivo for some tasty guitar licks. As is often the case in this genre, dropping the ball in a relationship is a rich source of lyrical inspiration with" Love in the Neighborhood" weaving a cautionary tale of the perils of helping the neighbor lady at the expense of peace at home. Likewise, "Full Grown Woman" deals with the aftermath of not paying enough attention to your mate who goes looking for greener pastures and "Search Your Heart" is a plea to be found in his lady’s heart. If your soul collection could use some updating Real Street is where you need to travel. Smitty

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.