If much of this reminds you of The Blues Brothers, there's good reason for that: the core of The City Boys Allstars bases in a bedrock horn section anchored by Lou Marini and Tom Malone of BB fame, with kindred spirits Fred Lipsius, Andy Snitzer, and others well attuned to the vibe. In many ways, this IS the new Blues Bros…minus Jake and Elwood and blended with an old obscure group called The Section (plus a touch of Sea Level largely residing in Rob Clores' keyboards). Like The Section, named for sessioneers famed for their rhythm section duties in hundreds of LPs, TCBA is an aggregate of session players long noted for their acumen. In Blinded by the Light, that virtue is trotted it out in spades.
And if the blues is on stage, then you know soul isn't far behind. It comes roaring out in the gritty vocals in Where Have You Been, backed off just a bit, as it should be, in the following God Bless the Child. Doesn't stay that way, tho': after the halfway mark, fireworks ignite. Horns, naturally, are all over the place everywhere throughout the disc, with solos galore, creating an ambience of NYC neon and late-nite carousery. The release is actually a reprise after a 17-year hiatus, lead man Mike Merola (guitar) desiring to reconnect with old buddies and great players. Well, the gig's live and you can judge for yourself just how incandescent things got right there in the latter portion of Child, a blow-out.
Blinded also features Tony Kadleck, whom you can read more about (here) and who produced the affair while joining in with the rest of da brass 'n winds boyz in horn arrangements, but, really, it's the vocals in Blinded that put the finishing touches on everything, take the fire of the horns up another level, and get the joint really jumpin'. Had Tower of Power and its rotating roster of +/- ten billion members been this delicious, I woulda been a lot fonder of 'em back in the day. Now, I have this, so I no longer worry about that.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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