Albert Cummings – Live at the ’62 Center | Album Review

Albert Cummings – Live at the ’62 Center

Ivy Music Company

10 tracks CD and DVD

Recorded live in Williamstown, MA, Albert Cummings gives a tastes of his recent touring from coast to coast with this live CD/DVD/Blu Ray combo. Live at the ’62 Center features Cummings and his band giving a tight and memorable performance of mostly original tunes. Cummings is a well-seasoned guitar player and writes some great original tunes for his albums and this is another batch of well-crafted cuts.

Cummings adds keys and backing vocalists to his trio for this tour and recording. In addition to him on guitar and vocals are Warren Grant on drums and Yanko Valdes on bass. The keyboardist is Pete Levin and vocalists are Kit Holliday and Lydia Harrell. They are a great band and deliver a really tight performance.

Things start off with a very rocking “500 Miles.” Lots of notes, lots of guitar; it’s a very high energy excursion. “Finally In Love” transitions more into the rock ballad space with a slightly faster tempo than some ballads. Cummings grits out the vocals with style and the guitar is a little more restrained, although the solo goes a little over the top. Next up is “No Doubt,” a Hendrix styled rocker with perhaps some roots in the blues. The guitar solo uses lots of pedal effects.

“I’ve Got Feelings Too” moves us slightly more into the blues. Albert howls out the vocals and the driving beat makes you want to get up and dance. The solo is big and there is more restraint at the start and I like it better that way than how he ends it. “Sweet Love” is a driving blues rocker with an extended guitar solo with layers of organ supporting it. Things slow way down for “Lonely Bed,” a somber slow blues with a nice extended instrumental intro and then some very emotive and thoughtful vocals. There’s a bit of a guitar dervish in the middle, but overall it’s a tasteful and cool cut.

A nice cover of “Hurts Me Too” continues the emotion and feeling with a slow start that builds into a bigger and somewhat faster pace. Cummings does a really nice job with this one. There’s a nice keyboard solo that leads into a another good guitar solo. “Up Your Sleeve” is another well done blues rocker with Cummins again growling out the lead and laying out his big licks. The ballad “Cry Me a River” is next, probably more southern rock than blues but it’s well done.

“Found You” is more well-done rock with some blues overtones. “Movin’ On” gives us lots of grit and grime and feeling. A cool blues rock tune, Cummings and company give us a big-time performance here. The album concludes with a medley, “Glass House-Midnight Rider.” He gives us a huge southern rock tribute here, mixing his original stuff with the Dickey Betts song made famous by Greg Allman and the Allman Brothers.

I really can’t call this a blues album. The influences are there, but it’s really a southern rock album. The folks who enjoy over the top guitar solos will appreciate this album and DVD.

Albert is one hell of a guitar player and talented guy in general. The solos go a little too far into what I call the “too many notes” category, but he’s amazing at what he does.

If you have a penchant for something more southern rock than blues or if you are just an Albert Cummings fan like I am, you’ll find something here to enjoy.

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