Dale Bandy – blue.
9 songs – 31 minutes
Dale Bandy is a singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer based out of Orlando, Florida and blue., his debut solo release, is about as close as reasonably possible to being a genuine solo album. Bandy wrote five of the nine songs on the album, sang, played (or programmed) nearly all the instrumentation and also produced, engineered and mixed the album. The only additional contributors are Gary Thompson (bass on seven of the songs), Joe Bolero (tenor saxophone on “Big Legged Woman”) and Goran Eric (trombone on “Get It On”). And the result is a very enjoyable album of modern electric blues.
blue. opens with the slow funky blues of “My Bad Reputation”, which has some cool, retro, echoing backing vocals. This is quickly followed by the minor key soul ballad “If I Could Only Take It Back” and the loping shuffle of “Get It On” (where Eric’s trombone solo perfectly fits the lazy groove of the song). The drums may be programmed, but there is a nice flow to the tracks. “Big Legged Woman” is played at a much faster clip than the Freddie King original, and contains a great solo from Bolero. Hearing the song anew however does emphasize the antiquated lyrical content as Bandy pleads with his “Big Legged Woman, in a short, short mini-skirt. Promise me darling, you’ll never make me feel like dirt.”
The bouncing shuffle of “Country Star” has the interesting juxtaposition of the protagonist declaiming that he wants to be a country star over the top of a crisp blues-rock backing track (with a neat piano solo), while “Comin’ Down” has echoes of 1970s’ soul-infused blues-rock, both in structure and vocal performance.
Bandy is an impressive musician, laying down a series of nicely melodic guitar solos, but he may be an even better singer, at times displaying a Freddie King-esque influence. His performance on “If I Could Only Take It Back” in particular is top drawer. In addition, the contributions of Thompson, Bolero and Eric add depth and dynamics to the songs.
Apart from “Big Legged Women”, the other covers on the album are “The Thrill Is Gone”, Keb’ Mo’s “I’m On Your Side” and the traditional “Trouble In Mind”. Bandy sings “Trouble In Mind” with a simple guitar shuffle backing only (interestingly, he uses a I-IV-V structure rather than the more traditional I-V-I-IV structure).
The press release accompanying the CD does not explain the intention behind the use of the lower case initial letter and the period in the album title. In the absence of any explanation, one might infer a parallel with the hyphen in the title to Moby-Dick although, while the album’s lyrics certainly address common blues themes of love, loss, hope and despair, it would be something of stretch to suggest they carry the same symbolism or meaning as Melville’s magnum opus. Either way, however, blue. is a short but very impressive release from Dale Bandy. Well worth checking out.