Blues Root Production – 2016
11 tracks; 46 minutes
Alabama’s Debbie Bond has spent many years running the Alabama Blues Project and seeking to promote the music of the area. In particular Debbie was mentored by the late Willie King and this is her fourth release under her own name. Debbie handles lead vocals and guitar with partner Rick Asherson on keys, keyboard bass and harp, Dave Crenshaw on drums and percussion, Rachel and Carla Edwards on backing vocals; Brad Guin plays all horn parts, Will Macfarlane plays guitar on four tracks and Spooner Oldham Hammond on one track. The album was recorded in Muscle Shoals and features six originals by Debbie and Rick and five covers in a pleasing mix of soul and blues influences.
Opening strongly with the title track, Debbie sings about making the most of the short time we all have in this life with plenty of solid support from the backing singers, the slinky slide and percussion adding a Bonnie Raitt feel to the track. Eddie Kirkland is the source for “Rainbow”, a melodic tune with lovely guitar work from Debbie whose breathy vocals fit the sentiments of the song perfectly. Ann Peebles’ “Love Vibration” ups the soul quotient, Debbie and Will exchanging some beautiful sounding guitar work and Debbie producing probably her best vocal of the set – a fine track indeed. Jody Williams’ “Left Me In The Dark” combines the blues with some latin rhythms before “Find A Way” finds Debbie backed by horns and the backing singers on a tale of getting back to love.
Rick’s harp work is heavily featured on Willie King’s “I Am The Blues” before Debbie gives us two slices of homespun philosophy: the funky “Humble Pie” reminds us to not take things for granted, aided by some great horn work, including a fine tenor solo; in “Wishbone” Debbie confesses that “I got a wishbone where my backbone should be” when it comes to her guy, Rick’s harp and the backing vocalists driving home the message. The final cover, Colin Linden’s “Remedy”, comes from a source well away from Alabama but receives the Shoals treatment, giving it a soulful makeover with plenty of backing vocals and more good interplay between the guitars. To conclude Debbie offers two songs of contrasting styles: “Start With Love” is a fine ballad framed by Rick’s echoey piano and “Train Song” has that familiar railroad rhythm courtesy of Rick’s harp and Debbie’s slide in a stripped down performance, just Debbie and Rick with the vocal support of Rachel and Carla, the pace quickening as the train gathers speed.
There is plenty to enjoy on this album which is well worth a listen.