Arthur Adams – Kick Up Some Dust | Album Review

Arthur Adams – Kick Up Some Dust

Cleopatra Records

11 tracks – 46 minutes

Arthur Adams was born on Christmas Day, 1943. He began singing in the church choir at age six but did not pick up the guitar until he was in his teens. He studied music at Tennessee State University and played in the school’s resident jazz and blues groups. Howard Carroll, guitarist for the Dixie Hummingbirds was an early influence. In 1964, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he became a session musician for Quincy Jones and Hugh Masekela.  Over the years he has performed with and written songs for B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt among many others and played on Bonnie’s album, Nick of Time”. In 1970, he recorded his first album, It’s Private Tonight, for Blue Thumb Records. The album was co-produced by Bonnie Raitt and Tommy Li Puma.

He released four alums in the 1970’s, but then stepped back from his out-front position, only occasionally doing session work and composing songs for others including two tracks for B.B. King’s 1992 album, There is Always one More Time. He also became the house bandleader for B.B.’s Los Angeles blues club. In 1999, he released his first new recording in 20 years. This is his fifth release since that second coming of his music.

This new album features eleven songs that come from his personal observations and conversations. He brought in a large group of friends that have worked with him over the years including drummers James Gadson who worked with Paul McCartney and Marvin Gaye and Greg Brown who was with Thelma Houston and Bobby Womack. Keyboardist Hense Powell also worked with Bobby Womack. Bassist Freddie Washington played with Herbie Hancock and Steely Dan.

The album opens with the soulful “It Makes Me Mad” that “you act like you don’t care for me” which leads into a great guitar run. He advises that he is “Starving For Your Love”, which offers a stinging guitar run that brings some reminiscence of B.B. King and adds horns to the mix. He begs her to “Hold on to Me”, pledging “smooth sailing from now on” in a plaintive plea. On “Fly With me To Paradise” he encourages her “to get aboard his plane” where they will find “joy and happiness…and all of our friends will be there”.

After the first slow, soulful songs, Arthur is ready to “Kick Up Some Dust” with an instrumental with a punching funk groove. He then moves back into a ballad as he declares “I Love You More” citing “my love goes on forever…your smile warms my soul”. Arthur proclaims that he learned his lessons from the “University of Hard Knocks” and advises to “never be no one’s fool” and “there is no instructor to heal a broken heart” in a very robust blues song.

He brings back the funk with his guitar rocking out with a touch of Albert King styled sting on “Done Got Over You” as he “washed himself clean of a bad situation” with The Waters Sisters joining in on backing vocals. He gets a little rock jive going on “Cool as a Cucumber” noting the guy is “known by everyone…the one everyone wants to be”. “Thieves of Love” rolls back into a slow discussion of an affair where they “must meet somewhere where we are clear out of sight”. The album ends with a second instrumental “A Bag of Soul”.

Arthur’s guitar constantly is excellent, and his vocals will bring to mind other soul blues singers, including perhaps Bobby “Blue” Bland. The attached notes for the album advise that later in 2023, Arthur will be touring with Shirley King, B.B.’s daughter, in a tribute to her father and offering stories from the two about their personal interactions with the blues icon. Certainly, something to be on the lookout for this summer.

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