Doug Duffey and BADD – Play the Blues
Out of the Past Music
CD: 9 Songs, 50 Minutes
Styles: Louisiana Blues, Soul, Roots, Americana, All Original Songs
“Blues are the songs of despair,” said the late, great Mahalia Jackson, “but gospel songs are the songs of hope.” Once in a blue moon, however, a blues album comes along that’s so warm and good-natured beneath its tough exterior that hope clearly shines through. Case in point? Play the Blues, the newest release from North Louisiana’s Doug Duffey and BADD. Featuring nine nifty original tracks, it pumps one’s spirits up from start to finish. Fans of Delbert McClinton will love poignant, beautifully-orchestrated ballads such as “A Memory Left to Lose,” while those who crave a good barroom stomp will favor “The Things We Used to Do,” the album’s opener. There’s truly something for everyone on here, whether a newcomer or veteran of the genre. Instrumentally, Duffey’s piano and Dan Sumner’s growling guitar are a perfect match. Sometimes they overpower the vocals, but this is a small flaw in an otherwise-great CD.
Doug Duffey was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Blues Hall of Fame in 2009. With his Blues Hall of Fame induction, he was also named as a “Louisiana Ambassador of the Blues.” Born in Monroe, LA in 1950, Duffey began singing and playing piano at an early age, composing and performing professionally by age fourteen. His first single, recorded in Nashville in 1970, was chosen by Billboard, Cashbox and Record World as “Pick Hit” and broke into the top 100 charts. He has been called “one of the most prolific songwriters living in Louisiana” and has recorded eleven critically acclaimed CDs of original material to date. His career spans over half a century, bringing him international success.
Dan Sumner is an internationally-acclaimed guitarist who performs and tours the world regularly with acts such as Doug Duffey and BADD, Louisiana Soul Revival, Steve Howell, and the Louis Romanos Quartet. His shredders of choice are two custom-made Benedetto archtop jazz guitars. He owns and operates Fort Sumner Studio, where he has recorded and/or produced dozens of albums by artists such as Astro Motel, Logan and the Legendaries, The Vidrines, Gin Mobsters, and Tito and the Fabulous Freeloaders.
This album’s first and final numbers are like gorgeous antique bookends, even though they’re brand-spanking new. In the middle are sensational songs such as “Evil,” “Big Easy Street Blues,” “My Driving Wheel,” and “You Got That Somethin’.” Every one of them shows just how skilled Duffey and Sumner are at their respective instruments. “Driving Wheel” is also a surefire hit, bringing Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to mind: “I arm myself in faith, trim the wicks, light vigil lamps. I cross myself and kiss the icons. I am indelibly stamped, ‘cause there ain’t nothing I can do but pray for protection from assault…” Evocative imagery indeed.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about Play the Blues is that it’s only this band’s sophomore offering. If this is their very best the second time around, imagine their third album!