Anthony Geraci – Blues Called My Name
Blue Heart Records
10 songs – 46 minutes
Anthony Geraci needs no introduction to most blues fans, having added his superb piano and Hammond organ to countless albums over the last 30+ years as well as being an original member of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters amongst others. Blues Called My Name is Geraci’s fifth solo album and is a superb collection of modern blues songs, all written by Geraci, who also produced the album.
In addition to himself, Geraci’s core band comprises Paul Loranger on acoustic bass (except on the Latin-tinged organ instrumental, “About Last Night”, which has Chris Rathbun on acoustic bass) and Jeff Armstrong on drums. Charlie O’Neal expertly handles the majority of the guitar duties, with guest appearances from Sugar Ray Norcia, Monster Mike Welch, Erika Van Pelt, John Vanderpool, Walter Trout, Barrett Anderson and Anne Harris.
Loranger and Armstrong are a top-class, rock steady rhythm section who lay down a variety of clever blues grooves. Loranger in particular must be one of the most under-rated bassists on the current scene.
Recorded primarily by Jeff Largent and Mixology Studios in Duxbury, MA, Blues Called My Name abounds with highlights, from Van Pelt’s emotional vocals and Geraci’s heart-breaking piano solo on “Corner Of Heartbreak And Pain”, to the raucous barrelhouse blues of “I Go Ooh” (Geraci’s only vocal on the album) and “Boston Stomp”, and Norcia’s distinctive and commanding vocals on the opening “That Old Pine Box” (an intriguing contemplation on mortality), “I Ain’t Going To Ask” and the title track. The instrumental “Boston Stomp” is testament to what a glorious, irresistible racket three world-class musicians (Geraci, Loranger and Armstrong) can produce.
The mix of different musicians across the album ensures a wide variety of tones and approaches, from Anderson’s edgy slide guitar on “I Ain’t Going To Ask” to Vanderpool’s tenor sax on “I Go Ohh” and Harris’s violin on “Wading In The Vermillion”, which drips with the humidity of New Orleans. Welch adds his distinctive and always ear-catching guitar to the title track while Trout’s blues-rock guitar wails impressively over the minor key “Into The Night”
The closing track, “Song For Planet Earth” features Geraci alone at his piano with his playing on this track worth the price of admission by itself.
Geraci’s last few albums have all been nominated for various blues awards. If I were a betting man, I’d place a few bucks on Blues Called My Name receiving similar recognition. It’s a pretty essential purchase for anyone who likes modern blues expertly played by choice musicians steeped in the history of the genre.
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