CD Review: Brad Absher & Swamp Royale ~ Lucky Dog



Brad Absher & Swamp Royale
Lucky Dog
Montrose Records


This may be his fifth album but a new name for me, and the music flows throughout Lucky Dog, it is a bright and breezy sound that will never displease and brighten up any moment with its full sound, there are some weak tracks and there should be more self-penned that sits his approach to music better than some of the covers chosen.

The band is drummer Mike Patton & Barry Seelen on keys; the vocals and guitar work ably delivered by Brad and Larry Fulcher co-producer and Bassist, this sound is augmented by Saxophone, pedal steel, backing vocals that enhance the tracks ensuring a varied mix of tones. The combination of lyrical backing vocals and searing saxophones gives the album a soulful feel that has been swirled with a ripple of blues.

Lucky Dog is a mix of self-penned, covers and traditional that create a patchwork of dynamics giving the music energy and a shape that is perfect for the style being delivered. Second track in I Need A Drink tells you this is an album that will assert its style so that the rocky soul blues is the bedrock for Brad to deliver the story he has to tell through the lyrics. Opening with crystal clear guitar work and instrumentation Miss Your Water is a blues number that cries to every person who has lost love a beautiful track full of class with the timing sharp and crisp. The version of Rather Go Blind has a Jazzy edge and upbeat and for me this doesn’t work for me ditch the classic Leon Russell cover and put in your own song that would suit this arrangement and style of music. The following track a country infused blend with lap steel, Not Tonight, works so much better the album is back on track.

Lipstick Tracks, is stripped down allowing for the band to interact with the funky bass line running across the lyrics and drumming that adds to the rhythm making this Alan Toussaint number have a funky feel with the lyrics shining through with Brad full of wistfulness. The traditional gospel number Jesus On Mainline, starting off with traditional A Capella, before the beat picks up and we join in clapping with slide guitar making this Gospel with a funky edge.

Closing with his own number Memphis On The Way, we are treated to a saxophone delight that gives a depth of tone acting as a counterpoint to the gritty vocals that are Brad Absher. The tracks that are strongest on the album are not the re-workings but his own material, on these the music, lyrics and shape of the songs really work, there is no compromise Brad Absher & The Swamp Royale’s can deliver the sound they love to play, that makes good listening.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of SEVEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Woman Who Loves Me (Brad Absher)
2. I Need A Drink (Brad Absher)
3. Same Love (Bill Withers)
4. I Can’t Wait (Brad Absher)
5. Miss Your Water (William Bell )
6. Wanna Be Your Man (Brad Absher)
7. Rather Be Blind (Leon Russell)
8. Not Tonight (Brad Absher)
9. Lipstick Traces (Allen Toussaint)
10. Jesus On The Mainline ( Traditional)
11. Trouble (Larry Fulsher & Tony Braunagel)
12. Memphis On The Way (Brad Absher)

Brad Absher: Guitar & Vocals
Mike Patton: Drums
Barry Seelen: Keyboard
Larry Fulcher: Bass)
Andy Saad: Tenor Sax
Anthony Terry: Bbaritone Sax

Additional musicians are:
Kyle Turner: Tenor Sax
Nicoya Prolar: Backing Vocals
Ed Starkey: Bass Vocals
Samantha Banks: Percussion
Brian Thomas: Pedal steel

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