CD: 12 Songs, 42:01 Minutes
Styles: Soul, Funk, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
One of the best things about being a columnist for this magazine is when I see that “one of mine,” an artist I’ve reviewed in the past, has released another album. The icing on the cake comes when their new CD equals or surpasses the previous one. Mojo, the sophomore offering from Al Corte’ (formerly Corte’), should be called the “Million Musician Masterpiece.” Okay, so there aren’t really a million musicians performing on it, but the full list takes up more than half a page and both inside panels of the CD’s dust jacket. Some people might be reminded of a movie starring so many A-list actors that it’s sure to be a turkey, but not this. Listeners will gobble up these twelve original songs and give thanks for such an uplifting repertoire. Vocal fox Al has served up a feast with all the trimmings when it comes to funk, soul, and blues rock.
Biographically speaking, his online profile is extensive, so let’s stick to his most recent endeavor: the one I just so happened to review two years ago. “In the winter of 2014, Al’s fate was in play, and he returned to his roots only this time not as just a live performer, but as a recording artist…His transition back to the stage is ignited by his cover R&B CD titled Seasoned Soul, that received rave reviews, having gained worldwide recognition and radio play. A number of songs on Seasoned Soul also charted into the top ten of the Roots Music Report and the album landed at #46 on the top fifty album chart for 2016. The CD was also voted best self-produced CD by the Memphis Blues Society. Al has performed select live performances in Memphis and the south east region of Arkansas, Tennessee and the Delta during 2016.”
And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for – The List. Dramatis Personae. The Players.
Al Corte’ – Lead Vocal, Conga, Cowbell, Tambourine, Touch Shaker
“The High Rhythm Section”
Leroy “Flick” Hodges, Jr. – Bass on all tracks
Michael Toles – Guitar on all tracks
Rev. Charles Hodges, Sr. – B3 Organ on all tracks
Steve Potts – Drums on all tracks
Brad Webb – Slide Guitar
John Nemeth – Harmonica
Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell – Grand Piano and Synthesizer
Rev. Charles Hodges, Sr. – Grand Piano
Ron Miller – Wurlitzer Piano, Violin Patch, Guitar, Grand Piano
Royal Singers – Candice Rayburn, Sharisse Norman, Stefanie Bolton
Jim Spake – Tenor Sax
Kirk Smothers: Baritone Sax
Lannie “The Party” McMillan, Jr. – Tenor Sax
Marc Franklin – Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Jennifer Puckett – Viola
Jessie Munson – Violin
Jonathan Kirkscey – Cello
Wen Yi Yu – Violin
Special Guests: The Tennessee Mass Choir on “Blessed to Have You Near”
(Whew!) Now that I’ve presented all the performers, let me describe one of their best songs here.
Track 04: “I’ll Never Lose My Love for the Blues” – One of the best blues-rock songs of 2017, this is a stomp that crushes all the others I’ve heard during the year. “Well, I might lose my woman. I might lose my car. I might lose my house and my backyard. I might be overdrawn. I might be underpaid. I don’t need salvation, ‘cause I’m already saved. I’ll never lose my love for the blues!” Brad Webb’s slide guitar is a nuclear bomb, vaporizing lesser solos in a flash. Also killer is Leroy “Flick” Hodges, Jr.’s bass, thumping and begging for a subwoofer’s magic touch.
Want to add another Best of the Year to your blues collection? Acquire Al Corte’s Mojo!