Eddie Dattel – Behind Blue Eyes
11 tracks/42 minutes
Inside Sounds is the Memphis-based home of The Daddy Mack Blues Band, Billy Gibson and other local artists. The label was founded by Eddie Dattel who has periodically released some of his own music, this latest being his third CD. All the material was written by Eddie with one track being co-authored by Wally Ford. Eddie sings lead throughout and contributes mostly acoustic guitar, with some piano and percussion, and a wealth of Memphis-based musicians contribute to the recordings including Matt Isbell (Ghost Town Blues Band), Brad Webb, Daddy Mack Orr, Dave Smith, Steve Potts and Jackie Johnson.
The music is pretty varied as Eddie sets out his intentions on the opening “Real Slow Down Home Blues” as guitarists Adam Levin and Eric Lewis play the blues and Carl Wolfe adds smoky sax to support Eddie’s rather world-weary vocal. “I Ain’t Goin’ Fishin” is acoustic with some nice slide work on resonator from Eric Lewis as Eddie sings of a relaxing approach to life: “I watch the sky turn orange and count the stars coming out; everybody’s busy fishin’, well I still got my doubts”. A gospel rave-up seems to be the inspiration for “Deep Fried Hallelujahs” which starts well with plenty of slide from Brad Webb but rather loses momentum as the final section simply repeats the title over and over. More successful is “In New Orleans I Had A Prayer” as Eddie’s light voice carries the tune well over a fine horn arrangement and choral vocals, Eddie’s lyrics regretting his move away from the Crescent City. The horns also play a vital role in the short but sweet “Can’t Make It Without Your Love”. “Always Want You” sounds a little like an Everley Brothers tune but also rather exposes Eddie’s vocal limitations though the backing vocals (Charles Ponder, Nora Tucker) do help him out considerably.
The song co-written with Wally Ford is “Memphis State Of Mind” which, with the saxophones and a funky arrangement certainly does evoke the city of the title, Charles and Nora again adding chorus vocals. “I Can’t Take You With Me When I Go” is another acoustic piece with Matt Isbell’s dobro and harmonica the featured instruments with just percussion, double bass and Eddie’s acoustic guitar, a pleasantly catchy piece which suits Eddie’s voice well. Eddie looks south down the Mississippi for a second time on “Prince Of New Orleans”, a tribute to the late James Booker which takes the form of a sad ballad with more than a hint of French chanson; Joe Restivo’s guitar is very Gary Moore in style and Tony Thomas certainly evokes Booker’s spirit with some fine piano work. It is then back to a very stripped down acoustic style with “Orphan Blues” as Brad Webb plays acoustic slide with Eddie providing some percussion on tambourine. Eddie closes the album with another ballad “If Ever I’m Wrong” which has some anthemic moments from Eddie’s piano and Tony Thomas’ organ. Once again the backing vocals are spot on (Jackie Johnson, Vicki Loveland) and Matt Isbell plays some great guitar.
Overall there are some solid songs here and some fine playing. Eddie has not got the strongest voice but he sings clearly so we can hear all the lyrics and it is always good to find someone capable of writing original material.