Eliza Neals gets Badder to the Bone

Eliza Neals gets Badder to the Bone

Eliza Neals gets Badder to the Bone a wonderful blues wrapped in rock album with a vocalist of prodigious talent alongside a star-studded cast of musicians.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful blues wrapped in rock album with a vocalist of prodigious talent alongside a star-studded cast of musicians.

Eat your heart out Mr Thorogood, Eliza Neals goes one better on her latest album as she shows blues grit and attitude on Badder to the Bone. This is the tenth release from the Detroit blues-rock maven and is probably her best yet. Nine original compositions and one cover provide a very strong set ably backed by a stellar cast of musicians, including such luminaries as guitarist extraordinaire Lance Lopez, Peter Keys of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame and John Galvin from Molly Hatchet to name but three.

Inevitably, the pandemic had an influence on the recording and writing…that isn’t obvious when you listen to the album as it is coherent and flows as if all of the musicians were together and it is a very worthy follow up to her tasty 2020 album, Black Cat Moan although Eliza is fully clothed on this cover.

Opening with the true blues-rocker, United We Stand, we are quickly reminded why Eliza is so respected for her vocals…the melody is a familiar building block but with the great drumming and slide topped by her unique vocal ‘attack’, it is an immediate and will be a welcome live feature with audience participation potential. Lance Lopez introduces the slower, sultry and soulful blues of Queen of the Nile, which also provides the album title in the lyrics. Powerful vocals, Hammond washes, delicious guitar behind the verses and a superb solo…what’s not to love? It lasts for seven minutes and is over in the blink of an eye: the mark of a great song.

Lockdown Love will chime with many of us as the story unfolds over an almost 70s style slow, measured rock song that has elements of pop, glam and soul in a fascinating melange. The languid guitar riff lulls before the stinging solo from Michael Puwal sets it on fire. King Kong is a love song even if the title doesn’t suggest that at first: blues-rock with a fiery riff, a typically powerful vocal and some very good guitar throughout…a good song that conjures strange images in my twisted mind…have you got two ape knees for a penny! Bucket of Tears is 60s soulful blues personified with rolling chord work, great vocal harmonies and inescapable rhythm with a (too) short slide solo that cries as many tears as the lyrics.

a Gun may be a frightening message to Eliza’s failing partner, but the catchy R’n’B melodies, backed with neat Hammond and guitar as well as her suitably toned vocals are still a delight. Fuelling Me Up is a slow slinky blues with delectable slide throughout and a superb solo. It also has one of Eliza’s best vocals…a driving song of sorts but the motor-related innuendo suggests otherwise…a great song though and, now you know about the suggestiveness, you’ll listen even more closely and be justly rewarded. Heathen is a soulful blues with nice piano and Hammond providing the backing for Eliza to pour her heart into the tale of a lover who’s in a lot of trouble…”a heathen, I wish you’d stop breathin’” The piano/B3 counterpoint solo is brilliant.

Can’t Find My Way Home was a low highlight if you see what I mean, on the Blind Faith album and here it is given a slightly slower, sympathetic reading. Lopez is back on guitar and the slide backing to another outstanding vocal, gives it gravitas and the guitar duet in the middle section and the fiery denouement make it the same but different and (whisper) better for it. The bass is a star on this one too. The final track revisits track two…Queen of the Nile II seems to be an edited version possibly aimed at blinkered radio stations, but I’ll stick with the longer one despite the odd, subtle differences.

This is a wonderful blues wrapped in rock album with a vocalist of prodigious talent alongside a star-studded cast of musicians.

Eliza Neals gets Badder to the Bone

Track listing:
United We Stand
Queen of the Nile
Lockdown Love
King Kong
Bucket of Tears
Got a Gun
Fuelling Me Up
Can’t Find My Way Home
Queen of the Nile II

All songs by Eliza Neals except Can’t Find My Way Home by Steve Winwood

Eliza Neals: vocals, keyboards
Lance Lopez: guitar
Billy Davis: guitar
Michael Puwal: guitar, bass
Skeeto Valdez: drums
Jeffery Fowlkes: drums
Tim Grogan: drums
Brian Clune: drums
Peter Keys: keyboards
John Galvin: keyboards
Paul Randolph: bass
Jason Kott: bass
Kymberli Wright: backing vocals

Connect with Eliza Neals across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website

(iTunes took me from Eliza’s powerful vocal style to the powerful vocal styles of Elles Bailey and her magnificent 2020 release, Ain’t Nothing But. So I let it run through that lockdown masterpiece to Road I call Home and had to stay for Shining in the Half-Light.)

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.