Raphael Wressnig and Igor Prado – The Soul Connection
CD: 13 Songs, 50:22 Minutes
Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Organ and Electric Guitar Blues, Soul Covers
Constant Readers, allow me to tell you the story of the Impossible Soul-Influenced Blues CD. Once upon a time, a nameless music connoisseur asked the question, “Is it possible to record a fantastic album, featuring two men from two different countries and cultures, and have neither one of them perform as the lead vocalist? Will that release sell at all if its two stars don’t sing? Imagine if Muddy Waters had only played the guitar, or Ray Charles the piano. It won’t work. People are going to pay way more attention to the guy doing the singing, at least in songs with lyrics.” Along came Raphael Wressnig from Austria, and Igor Prado from Brazil, to prove this curious connoisseur dead wrong. She was resurrected after listening to this particular CD, and lived to tell the tale. The moral of her fable? One need not sing to achieve Blues/Soul fame.
On thirteen tracks, Wressnig (on Hammond B3 organ) and Prado (on guitar) bring out the best of their combined genre. Only three of them are originals, but that’s okay because the covers won’t be overly familiar (as, say, anything by Ray Charles might). The finest of these include the opener, Eugene Williams’ “Trying to Live My Life Without You,” Billy Myles’ “My Love Is,” and Don Robey’s “Don’t Cry No More.” On any album featuring a duo, the key is the chemistry between its two artists, even more so than their musicianship. Says Raphael in the inside pages of the included booklet: “Igor called and asked if I was up to do a recording in Sao Paulo. He was right. It was the right moment. We had two days off and booked a studio for one day. We set up one evening and just nailed it.” Indeed they did, because of their intense Soul Connection.
Along with Wressnig and Prado are Rodrigo Mantovani on electric and double bass; Yuri Prado on drums; “Sax” Gordon Beadle on tenor and baritone saxophone, and Sidmar Vieira on trumpet. On vocals are guest stars “Wee” Willie Walker, David Hudson, Leon Beal, and Lisa Andersen.
The three original songs on this CD are just as good as all the covers, if not better.
Track 05: “No-La-Fun-Ky” – Turn on a shiny mirror ball and disco dancefloor lights for this ‘70s inspired instrumental. It has just the right amount of bounce and the right amount of bass for anyone, even the most boogie-averse, to get down. Also “far out” is Prado’s electric guitar solo. The only problem with “No-La-Fun-Ky” is that it’s too short, clocking in at a meager 2:40.
Track 07: “Turnip Greens” – On the opposite end of the spectrum, when it comes to length, is a number composed by Wressnig. It takes a remarkable amount of stamina to play a Hammond B3 organ as skillfully as he does for over six minutes. Raphael knows how to keep fans interested, with melodic notes coming in rapid-fire bursts and smooth weaving into the background when it’s Igor’s turn to strut his stuff on guitar.
Track 09: “The Face Slap Swing No. 05” – With a title that would make even Ebenezer Scrooge laugh out loud (as it’s something he might have played while backhanding Bob Cratchit), this is another one of Prado’s brief but boisterous offerings. While being almost impossible to dance to due to its tempo, number nine will definitely get one’s heart pumping, if not one’s feet.
Form a Soul Connection with Raphael Wressnig and Igor Prado. They’ll fill it to the brim!