Lisa Biales – The Beat of my Heart | Album Review

Lisa Biales – The Beat of my Heart

Big Song Music

CD: 12 Songs, 47:17 Minutes

Styles: Soul and Gospel-Influenced Blues, Smooth Jazz, Soul/Blues Covers

Writers are often asked, “What’s your secret?” Here’s mine: My columns for the best CD’s write themselves. I don’t need to sell the product so much as let the product sell itself. Such is definitely the case with Ohio native Lisa Biales and her outstanding work. The Beat of my Heart is her ninth album, and rare is the artist that maintains top-notch quality music over so many releases. Even the Beatles had albums that were a little off. Lisa, however, has never missed a beat, and her voice is distilled magic. In the world of numerology, nine is a symbol of wholeness and completion. This, her latest CD, is the most complete representation of her four blended genres: blues, gospel, jazz and soul. Only one song out of twelve is an original, which is a shame. Lisa is more than talented enough to present all-new material. Reheated covers only satisfy up to a point, and Biales can fill listeners up more.

Her promotional information sheet provides a succinct overview of this CD and its inspiration. “Biales grew up in a musical family and learned singing from her mother. In 2015, she found a 78 RPM record that was recorded back in 1947. It had one song, “Crying Over You,” written by Alberta Roberts – Lisa’s mom. ‘Hearing my mother’s voice after all these years brought a chill to the bone. I realized that I had to put her song on this project.’ You’ll hear Lisa’s mother, at twenty-four years of age, sing the first verse of the song, and as Lisa takes over, it’s a goose-bumpy experience.”

Performing alongside lead vocalist Lisa are Jim Pugh on piano, Larry Taylor on upright bass, renowned producer Tony Braunagel (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal) on drums and percussion; Johnny Lee Schell on electric guitar, Danelectro, Cigfiddle, and Tele; Darrell Leonard on trumpets; Joe Sublett on saxophones; Larry Fulcher on bass; Tom Peterson on baritone sax lead for track three; Wally Ingram on tambourine; Chuck Berghofer on 1813 upright bass; Paul Brown on 1957 Gibson L5 guitar; and Maxayn Lewis, Kudisan Kai, Leslie Smith, and Will Wheaton on background vocals and hand claps.

The following three tracks, two old and one new, are truly in tune with Biales’ heartbeat.

Track 01: “Disgusted” – No one likes being treated like an object, especially not the subject of the CD’s opening number. Written by Mabel Scott, it points an accusing finger at blokes who are far less than gentlemen: “I work real hard. I stay real cool. I been through college, so I ain’t nobody’s fool. I’m just disgusted. Whoa, I’m so mad. I’m so tired of these men trying to make a monkey out of me.” Dig the hot horns by Joe Sublett and Darrell Leonard, smoking and sultry.

Track 05: “Messin’ Around with the Blues” – A slow burner that will get couples’ hearts pounding on the dance floor, this hit by Thomas Waller and Phil Worde is the best offering of pure blues on the album. “With you on my mind, I’m blue all the time. I wonder just where you could be, you could be,” Lisa laments as Johnny Lee Schell’s Gibson 335 electric guitar concurs.

Track 07: “Crying Over You” – A stunning ballad that would fit perfectly on any of the Fallout computer games’ soundtracks, this ballad of the late 1940s is a true blast from the past, mingled with the voice of the future – Lisa’s. Jim Pugh is absolutely perfect on tinkling Steinway piano, as are mother and daughter on vocals that would melt steel.

Surely fans of blues and soul will shout, “Lisa Biales is in sync with the Beat of my Heart!”

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