9 Tracks; 48:54 running time
A fine group of ten musicians and three singers make up this jazzy, bluesy, and soulful ensemble. The band formed in 1988 and their latest recording released in September 2014 was the group’s first performance in 17 years. Recorded live at The Cutting Room in New York City (the super groups originating roots), the performance is dripping with feeling, emotion, and raw energy. Personal influence includes artists such as BB King and Joe Pass. Trying to find an instrument that isn’t played on this disc will be the real challenge here. Guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, trombone, percussion, saxophone, and vocals are all present and accounted for in fine form! The title of Blinded by the Night makes one think of darkness, reality, and speaking the truth. Speaking the truth was the overall cry of this CD according to one band member on the night of the live show.
A few favorite tracks include “Funky Peaches”, “Strung Out”, and “City Boy Blues”. “Funky Peaches” is just that-full of funk and soul. A horn filled instrumental with jazzy undertones and feelings of down right funk will make your body groove. “Strung Out” is dedicated to musician Frankie Paris which gives an interesting insight to the dangers and feelings of being addicted. Real descriptions via strong and heartfelt lyrics help the listener experience the pain of looking for the all-encompassing high. “City Boy Blues” reaches out by having that fun New Orleans style of jazz and blues. Superb vocals and harmonizing as well as a constant hook and drive by the bass player and drummer make this track unforgettable. Songs that stay with you for days and keep running around in your head are the best kind!
The album is sprinkled with solid musicianship though out. Some of the tracks are slow and romantic while others are upbeat and flavored full of funky tones. The live performance is a genuine touch and helps the fan appreciate the extreme enthusiasm and heart of the group. It truly sounds as if the band has a grand time and enjoys being in with the crowd and drawing them even closer with each track. So much for a 17 year break…
What is next for The City Boys Allstars? According to band leader Mike Merola, “This thing could really explode, I don’t think there’s anything like us out there, quite frankly.” Having such a great crowd of musicians and musical instruments certainly can’t hurt things in this respect. Band members have been noted as being devoted to making the best music possible while having fun and connecting with their audience. The band plans to find more venues, live appearance opportunities, and free up time to travel both in the states and overseas.