Solomon Hicks is definitely Carrying On The Torch of the Blues
This is an album where twenty year old Solomon Hicks celebrates and honours the blues. Having listened to the twelve tracks Solomon Hicks is definitely Carrying On The Torch of the Blues. Second track in and Homework is a little bit special with the combination of Solomon and Southside Johnny playing harmonica on this stylish cover of a roots classic made popular by Otis Rush. Southside said “When I was young and starting out, certain people helped me, I’m happy to do the same for Solomon”. Solomon has definitely done his homework on the guitar.
With some special guests Solomon picks up his guitars and howls the blues on the six strings and the vocals are warm and full of emotion. The young man from Harlem has the blues deep in his soul along with his other influences Jazz and Funk. The title track evokes the ghosts of the bluesmen departed as the guitar sound changes we imagine SRV, BB King and many more. The saxophone from Jake Clemons (Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band) adds a tonal layer that is haunting and resonates the echoes of the influences of bluesmen from the deep blue past. Swing with bright blues feet tapping rhythms and visit Jukin’ At The Cotton Club, the horns that cut through the track like a hot knife through butter.
Solomon Hicks, is not slavishly re-creating a blues sound of the past. This is a deeply blues infused contemporary sound with a re-arrangement that shows the power of Lennon/McCartney writing as I Saw Her Standing There is recreated as a blues number that just doesn’t quite work, the vocals are dulled and there is no space for his guitar to hook onto the music.
Lets move to New Orleans and he can with a deft change of tone we have The Hook of Love with a guitar solo that makes the whole album come alive. Again Solomon struggles with the vocals, this is a young man taking leaps up the ladder, there is still space to develop and shape the blues Solomon wants to call his own.
The combination of sweet guitar licks and riffs and Jeff Levine’s Hammond makes this the penultimate track rather special, Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska Pt. II’. This instrumental gives Hicks the space to focus on the guitar tone and shape and it really lights up the album. We know that Solomon Hicks is definitely Carrying On The Torch of the Blues, he loves what he is playing and singing the guitar has a role but never to deliver excessively long and tedious lead breaks it is there to augment the textural tone of the song. The album works there is a flow but there is something missing a couple of big stand out forward looking really inventive tracks.
Solomon Hicks has the instruments guitar and vocals that have the power to deliver and support to go on and really deliver a great album number three, In the meantime Solomon Hicks latest album will always be a welcome sound.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
- You Don’t Want Me Anymore
- Homework [feat Southside Johnny]
- Carrying On The Torch of the Blues [feat Jake Clemons]
- Jukin’ At the Cotton Club
- I Saw Her Standing There
- Fooling Around
- I Want to See You Again
- The Hook of Love
- I Never Thought
- Around The World
- Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska (Pt11) [feat Jeff Levine]
- My Baby