Leroy Ellington’s Sacred Hearts – Live And Kickin’ It
11 tracks/51 minutes
Leroy Ellington has been a showman for over 3 decades and knows how to please a crowd. His long career in blues and rock is centered in Cincinnati where he has received many an accolade. His focus centered on the blues beginning in 2012. His EP, Blue Eyed Blues was named “Best Self Produced CD by The Cincinnati Blues Society in 2016 and then in January 2017 was a semi-finalist in that category at the International Blues Challenge. Ellington’s 2018 release Sanctified was also well received. Here we get 8 originals and 3 well done covers, all stuff pretty much featured on his two studio albums.
The Sacred Hearts are Ellington on sax and lead vocals, Max Gise and Marcos Sastre on guitar, Mike Grosser on bass, Charlie Fletcher on keys and Josh Parker on drums. The Soul Flower Singers backing Leroy are Sonya Jackson and Karen Bolden, The Blowin’ Smoke Horns are Dwayne Irin on sax and John Zappa on trumpet. The music was recorded live at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky.
“Heaven Don’t Want Me” is a gritty slower tempo-ed cut with a slick guitar groove. Ellington testified vocally with good effect here. The sax solo is gritty and fun and the following guitar solo is equally well done. There’s a lot of restraint here, and the band lets go a bit with “Three Easy Payments.” It’s a mid-tempo boogie with well done organ and guitar. Next up is “My Father’s Son,” a slow, lamentful blues with some distorted guitar solos and backing organ that make it interesting. “Doghouse” gets things moving a bit with more good vocals and big, driving guitar solo. Up next is “Why Me,” a slick, swinging cut with lots of horns and a rockabilly feel to the beat and music. A Delbert McClinton song and it’s hot stuff! Then we have “Until We Meet Again,” a jazzy and cool cut with a sublime feel and more slick guitar.
“Gravity” follows, a slow and somber ballad from John Mayer with some emotional vocals and pretty guitar solo/work. “Something Funky Going On” is another rather slow and cool cut, with Leroy testifying and more restrained and good guitar. The song builds to a nice finish. “I Wanna Tickle Your Fancy” is another big production with horns and backing vocals harmonizing and responding to Ellington’s call. The pace is quick and the song moves along sweetly as the horns blare and guitar blazes. “The Forecast Calls For Pain” is a mid tempo funky cut with a nice groove and Ellington laying out some nice vocals. This is a song made famous by Robert Cray. There is more strong guitar work here, and the horns in support are once again good. The final cut is “Baptized In a Bedpan,” a song about life in the blues and you can’t be more blue than that kind of baptism! A slower tempo with a great feel, Ellington and company conclude the set with a song with great feeling and musicianship. The horns and guitar interplay and get featured, Ellington sings with feeling and it’s a great ending to a fun set.
I enjoyed the CD. The band played a bunch of tracks featured on their albums and held the crowd in the palms of their hands- you could tell they were appreciated. This is a really good live album that captures Ellington and His Sacred Hearts in their element, taking what they did in the studio and giving their all to appreciative fans. I enjoyed the Cd and anyone who likes a funky, horn-filled sound with solid guitar and keys and spot on vocals will too!