Please Note: This is republished from 20th January 2020
Originally from Houston, Texas, Teresa James is based in Los Angeles where she works with some of the top LA based touring and session musicians in her band, The Rhythm Tramps. No stranger to Bluesdoodles, you can find more info and reviews via the search option.
Teresa has another live album out which, for the most part, take songs from previous releases (six originals and seven covers)…although we do get a lesser-known William Bell track that doesn’t appear on other CDs. A minor disappointment for me is that there is only one track from the Here In Babylon release that I rather enjoyed. Nevertheless, there are a baker’s dozen of quality and soulful blues recorded over four nights and featuring many of the players who regularly contribute to Teresa’s live and studio output.
Kicking off, literally, with In The Pink, Teresa and the band show what they are capable of with this horn infused tribute to her heroes. The piano is the instrumental star and it is difficult to believe this is live as the tightness is so err…tight! I Like It Like That is more my style with the jump blues of this Five Royals song. The piano and guitar solos are a delight. Put The Squeeze On Me starts like a live track should and builds into the R’n’B song we know and love and has a bonus tasty guitar solo. The Terry Wilson penned Easier Said Than Done is more soulful than my normal fare but still has a bite and a sax solo that is subtle enough and doesn’t become overblown. The blues ballad Forgetting You is a brave live choice but Teresa does it and her proud. Personally I thought a guitar rather than sax solo would have suited it better but then, the guitar is always my favoured instrument.
Motown colours the next track, She’s Got A Way With Men but it still has a bounce and instrumentation to keep my interest…especially with guitar playing throughout although the solo is sax again. Don’t Make A Habit Of It is back in the solid soul style and is the only dip for me. If I can’t Have You is a duet with Bruanagel that works really well as the piano gives it a depth that rewards close listening, as does the clever and crafted guitar solo. Allen Toussaint’s classic Shoora, Shoora is next and is given a respectful and effective treatment. My Favourite is…Babylon song, The Day The Blues Came To Call simply because they do and the guitar solo is even better than the studio version…even if it is way, way too short! That Bell cover is next as the band take Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday and the original’s almost cloying sentimentality is lifted to a more impassioned version. Glen Clark’s I Want It All lifts the tempo and the heart with a slice of pure Tex-Mex partying. It closes with the roadhouse romp of Long Way From Texas with guitar and piano giving an edge that lifts it above many songs of this style…., especially Billy Watt’s solo.
This then is a live album for lovers of the soulful end of the blues although there is still much to be enjoyed across all of the tracks if you are more bluesy like wot I am.
A very professionally played and recorded set that shows Teresa and the band on form and totally at home in the live environment.
Bluesdoodles rating: Wonderful
- In The Pink
- Like I Like That
- Put The Squeeze On Me
- Easier Said Than Done
- Forgetting You
- She’s Got A Way With Men
- Don’t Make A Habit Of It
- If I Can’t Have You
- Shoorah, Shoorah
- The Days The Blues Came To Call
- Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
- I Want It All
- Long Way From Texas
Teresa James- Lead Vocals & Keyboards
Terry Wison – Bass & Backing Vocals
Billy Watts – Guitar & Backing Vocals
Herman Matthews – Drums (tracks 1,4,7,8,10,11)
Jay Bellarose – Drums (tracks 2,3,5,6,13)
Tony Braunagel – Drums (tracks 9, 12)
Les Thornburg – Trumpet (tracks 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11)
Darrell Leonard – Trumpet (tracks 9, 12)
Joe Sublett – Saxophone (tracks 9, 12)
Paulie Cerra – Saxophone (tracks 2, 3, 5,6,7,8,9, 11)
Ron Dziubla – Saxophone (tracks 1, 4, 10)
(The iTunes run on track took me back to 1928 and the lesser-known but rather good Texas Alexander and his mournful, slide driven No More Woman Blues…so much good stuff comes from and colours so much of the music we love today)