Rev Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Historically With Blues

Rev Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Historically With Blues gospel, field music, and soul come together as Rev. Shawn Amos Breaks It Down. The Reverend Shawn Amos is genuinely a Reverend. It is not an affectation. He is an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.

After many years in the music industry (as Artist & Repertoire executive at Rhino and Shout!, as well as a noted producer for Heart and Quincy Jones amongst others), he began his own solo career and has released a number of albums since 2005. This is not the first album Bluesdoodles has reviewed and enjoyed. 2015 we were listening to Loves You now back with Breaks It Down.

His latest release, The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down is, in his own words, “a collection of 21st Century Freedom Songs”. Inspired by his touring in the American South, the post-Trump election divide, and his own personal triumphs and tragedies.

Opening with Moved, we are greeted by some deft picking and a couple of harmonica notes before the Rev’s plaintive voice takes us into a soulful song, asking us “How long before we’re moved?” 2017 brings bass and drums into play as he laments on the state of the nation.

Hold Hands gives us the first guitar solo in the middle of a Stax feeling track, think along the lines of Down On The Boardwalk.

Inevitably, the biggest surprise is the cover of David Bowie’s Jean Genie…a brave man! This is an imaginative take on a classic. The first thing to notice is he has the audacity to omit the final downstroke of the distinctive riff. This makes it instantly recognizable, but different. The next change is that his voice is phased, but then no one could copy Bowie. The Hi Rhythm Section provide a big band sound on the chorus and then we get a guitar/harmonica segue.

Does it work? Easy answer; yes! Anyone who is brave enough to cover Bowie deserves credit and it is different enough to be very good in its own right.

A brief a capella reading of Uncle Tom’s Prayer is the first of what the Rev calls his ‘Freedom Suite’ and it gives a good feeling for the old work/field songs of the day. Similarly, the Bukka White cover, Does My Life Matter evokes that period. Then a funky feel rounds out the suite with Come Together. Ain’t Gonna Name Names has a fun aspect with horns providing another echo of Stax. The warmth of a Hammond welcomes us into a gospel choir rendition of Nick Lowe’s …Peace Love And Understanding. And again, it works.

The strange thing about this album is the way it gets under your skin. It has nothing, apart from the Bowie cover, to make it stand out. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed every song.

It rewards the listener that listens; it has no long instrumental sections and no guitar hero histrionics.

It is an album that celebrates and challenges the history, and the future of the Rev Shawn Amos’ heritage and the wider issues of the world today. It is an album that exudes atmosphere. It is an experience.

The Reverend Shawn Amos – Breaks It Down – Put Together

Release Date 16th February 2018

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

  1. Moved
  2. 2017
  3. Hold Hands
  4. The Jean Genie (Bowie)
  5. Uncle Tom’s Prayer (Reagon)
  6. Does My Life Matter (Bukka White)
  7. (We’ve Got To) Come Together
  8. Ain’t Gonna Name Names
  9. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding (Lowe)
  10. Diggin’ In My Potatoes (Leadbelly) Bonus Track

Musicians:
Rev Shawn Amos vocals; harmonica
Chris Roberts; guitar
Larry Taylor; bass
Steve Potts; drums
Peter Adams; Hammond B3
The Hi Rhythm Section; backing band
The Masqueraders; backing vocals

Recorded at FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Ocean Studio, Burbank and the Royal Studio, Memphis.

 

 

Rev Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Historically With Blues

The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You – cookie loving album

The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You - cookie loving album

The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You – cookie loving album

 

 

 

The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You – debut cookie loving album, just like a jar of cookies full of musical temptation crammed with the sweetest delights. The guest appearance from Blind Boys of Alabama and Mindi Abair adds further layers of tasty musical treats. The album is crammed with gospel led blues of the secular kind, with the clever harp playing, songwriting and blues singing warm as honey on a sunny day from the talented Shawn Amos.
The album, with two covers and ten originals is full of musical diversity that keeps you engaged and listening as the blues twists and turns around the genre. Opening with Days Of Depression, the blues hit you as the clapping starts the Blind Boys of Alabama adding a musical equivalent of the cherry on top of the cake on this the opening track the love is shared.
Fancy some R n’B Shawn Amos is happy to please with Will You be Mine! With Shawn seeking redemption through the grinding vocals underpinned by a rhythm section that drives the tempo and mood. Boogie is steeped in sex appeal as Shawn’s vocals crone and growl over the instrumentation you just want to get onto the dance floor and gyrate those hips in time with the mesmerising music and then Miss Anderson joins in ‘you got to boogie’ this is a track that ignites.
The duet of Bright Lights, Big City is special as Shawn and Mindi are full of vocals they are a seductive combination with his searing harp and her sassy saxophone it is a mix made in blues heaven. The guitar playing intro of You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home) is sharp and sassy and the vocals are smoking, moodily augmenting the rhythmic drive of the guitar and the stomping beat.
This is an album that digs deep into the structure of the blues with the combination of up front vocals dripping with emotion and lyrics that tell a story of different roads traveled, hurts and experiences. These are amplified by the skillful and exciting arrangements from the band, of Chris “Doctor” Roberts (guitars), Brady Blade (drums, percussion), Chris Thomas (bass), Anthony Marinelli, Hassell Teekell (keyboards), Mindi Abair (saxophones,) Lewis Smith (trumpet), Forever Jones (backing vocals) and Nick Lane (horn arrangements). This is seen throughout the album allowing Amos the freedom to explore the lyrics and add his glorious harp playing.
This is an album of blues treasure of now and the future, ending with The Last Day I’m Loving You, you are left wanting more. The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You – cookie loving album, combines all the raw ingredients of the blues creating modern blues that are relevant, listenable and you always want one more song…

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

1. Days Of Depression With Blind Boys of Alabama
2. Brand New Man
3. Boogie with Miss Anderson
4. Brothers Keeper
5. You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home)
6. Joliet Bound
7. Will You Be Mine
8. The Outlaw
9. Bright Lights, Big City with Mindi Abair
10. Hollywood Blues
11. Put Together
12. The Last Day I’m Loving You

Days Of Depression With Blind Boys of Alabama