Quinn DeVeaux & The Blue Beat Revue – Book Of Soul
Self-Release – 2020
12 tracks; 43 minutes
Quinn DeVeaux was born in Gary, Indiana, and dubs his music ‘Blue Beat Soul’, an amalgam of soul, blues and country. Raised in both Baptist and Jehovah’s Witness churches, gospel influences can be heard on this album which appears to be Quinn’s fourth release. It was recorded “on three sunny days in Nashville and two cloudy days in Oakland” and features Quinn on vocals and guitar, backed by Jon Estes on lead guitar, Micah Hulscher and Peter Keys on keyboards, Jeff Ratner on bass and Jimmy Lester on drums; backing vocals come from Ahsati-Nu, Laura Mayo and Alexis Saski and horns appear on several cuts courtesy of Tyler Summers (sax), Vinnie Ciesielski (trumpet) and Oscar Utterstrom (trombone). Quinn wrote all the material.
Opener “Been Too Long” has Quinn feeling the distance between him and his loved one. A slight Robert Cray feel opening is offset by synth strings but the backing vocals are good. Quinn has a light voice which could perhaps have been mixed slightly higher as there are instances where the percussion dominates the music, as on “All I Need”. Two tracks with similar titles follow: “Come On Home” finds Quinn singing soulfully over piano and organ, giving a quiet gospel feel to the song which also has some nice acoustic guitar work in the middle section; “Take Me Home” has a looser rhythm with the piano underpinning the horns’ first appearance, giving an interesting mix of New Orleans, ska and country. For a brief moment you think “Honky Tonk Woman” is coming on as cow bell percussion opens “Think About You” which also has a hint of island rhythms but rather repetitive lyrics.
A strong bass line is a feature of “Gimme Your Love”, soulful with subtle horn work and intricate guitar patterns, though again quite repetitive lyrically. “Walk And Talk” has elements of Sam Cooke, both in Quinn’s vocal and the light guitar work, the backing vocalists again impressing and the horns joining in on the second half of the song. “Take Me To Glory” is a religious piece, a quiet gospel ballad with just Quinn, backing vocals and guitar. In complete contract “Good Times Roll” is very different to the rest of the album as the piano leads the way, the horns joining in with gusto to add a real Dixieland jazz feel to the second half of the song. “Trouble” is perhaps what Quinn means by his ‘Blue Beat’ tag as his soulful vocals and the horns meet a rhythm that hints at reggae. Electric piano features at the heart of “Home At Last”, a celebration of getting back to loved ones, the horns providing quiet support, apart from a suitably celebratory sax solo. The album closes with “Stay The Night”, Quinn’s vocals slightly distorted (why?), the piano giving the song a honky-tonk feel.
The range of material that Quinn has at his disposition is a plus and the judicious use of backing vocalists and horns works well in support of his vocals.