Marc Broussard – S.O.S. IV: Blues For Your Soul | Album Review

Marc Broussard – S.O.S. IV: Blues For Your Soul

KTBA Records – 2022

12 tracks – 52 minutes

At age 41, Marc Broussard has already had a long history of philanthropic work starting with his self-released Bootleg to Benefit the Victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The sales from that album aided in the organization of the Monetary Setback Fund, which was created to provide financial assistance to those that were displaced by both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ruth.

In 2015, he established the S.O.S. (Save Our Soul) Foundation, which provides a conduit to charities such as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, The City of Refuge in Atlanta, and Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. As noted from the title, this is the fourth in a series of releases under the title of S.O,S. The first release occurred in 2007, prior to the formation of the foundation, but did start his further efforts to fund worthy causes. The other two preceding albums arrived in 2017 and 2019.

Over the years, Marc had become close friends with Joe Bonamassa. In deciding to focus the album on the blues, he reached out to Joe to see if he would be willing to be involved in the production of the latest S.O.S. album. Joe jumped at the opportunity and agreed to co-produce the album with Josh Smith on Joe’s KTBA label. Both Joe and Josh are guest players on the album, along with a vast array of other players including Jeff Babko on keyboards and B3, Calvin Turner on Bass, Lemar Cater on drums, a full horn section and strings by The Nashville Recording Orchestra. Marc identified that the purpose of S.O.S. 4 is to provide a significant amount of the funds received from the album’s sale to Joe’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation”, which supports youth rehabilitation through music. That foundation also offers support to “Guitars Over Guns”, a Miami-based non-profit that offers students in vulnerable communities both music scholarships and mentorship.

The album consists of 11 classic soul blues songs and one original song penned by Marc, Josh Smith and Calvin Turner which concludes the album. Marc sought songs that would allow him to stretch across a wide range of the blues from songs from early blues greats to classic 60’s and 70’ssounds.

The first song on the album is “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” originally recorded by Gladys Knight and The Pips and penned by Gerry Goffin and Barry Goldberg. Joe Bonamassa provides lead guitar and Eric Krasno plays rhythm.  That is followed by “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water”, originally recorded by Johnny Taylor in 1968 and later by Lou Rawls in 1972. Jeff Babko’s piano drives the song and Josh Smith provides the guitar lead. Joe returns on guitar on “That’s What Love Makes You Do”, a Little Milton Campbell composition and single from 1970.

Roddie Romero, who is from Marc’s hometown of Lafayette, La. and is leader of the Ragin’ Cajun’s zydeco band provides the guitar on a very soulful version of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Cuttin’ In” from 1963. Bobby “Blue” Bland’s 1974 song “Dreamer” is given a very smooth rendering.  That is followed by a jumping and slightly psychedelic version of a lost Son House song “Empire State Express” that first appeared in 1965 and was subsequently recently recovered and remastered by Dan Auerbach. A slow soul rendition of Bobby Womack’s 1969 “Love, The Time Is Now” features Bobby Schneck Jr., who has played with Devon Allman, on guitar.

JJ Grey joins in on vocals on Howlin’ Wolf’s 1969 “I Asked For Water” and, of course, “she brought me gasoline” with Dennis Gruenling blowing a mean harmonica. Eric Krasno takes the guitar lead on B.B. Kings’ 1973 song “I Like to Live the Love”.  John Lee Hooker’s “Locked Up In Jail (Prison Blues)” originally released in the early 1950’s is given a throbbing treatment under Josh Smith’s guitar lead.

Roosevelt Sykes’ “Drivin’ Wheel Blues” was first recorded on Decca Records in 1936 and was subsequently performed by many other performers including B.B. King and as here named, “Driving Wheel”. Joe Bonamassa returns on guitar and Reese Wynans joins on the B3. Joe also plays on the sole original song, “When Will I Let Her Go”.

Marc and Joe have created a timeless soul masterpiece. Marc’s strong vocal presence can match any of the soul greats who came before him and certainly well serves the classic nature of every song on the album. The album’s guests are just a strong addition to the overall appeal of the album and offers credibility to its charitable aspects and support and also certainly deserves your support as well with a purchase of the album.

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