Guys like John Nemeth, Curtis Salgado and Tad Robinson have invaded the soul side of the blues scene and deliver performances with such feeling and emotion that continually impress me. Tad Robinson’s latest release on Severn Records is one of those iconic performances that showcase his talents and make him a viable, award-considerable soul man.
I last saw Tad in Davenport last summer at the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. He delivered one of the best performances, if not the best performance, of the day. Assembled with him is a fine band : Johnny Moeller on guitar, Robb Stupka on drums, Steve Gomes on bass, and Kevin Anker on keys. Severn uses these guys to their and artists’ advantage. Also appearing are other stalwarts of Severn or the industry in general, including Anson Funderburgh on one track, Alex Schultz on four tracks, Benje Porecki on organ on one track, and a great four piece horn section. These are fantastic artists who work together incredibly well.
“Soul Lover” opens up the album. Written by bassist Steve Gomes, this is a slick and sexy cut where lyrics and melody blend with the groove extremely well . Robinson’s exceptional approach with guitar, organ and horn backing him explode emotionally in this excellent tune. “Call Me” has two versions; the first follows “Soul Lover” and the second closes the CD. Penned by Tad and two other band members, this funky piece is a delightful love song. Robinson asks for his woman to show him some sort of sign and give him a holler every once in a while. He growls softly as he calls on his woman to contact him. “Lonely Talking” has Tad apologizing for what transpired between he and another lonely soul who physically took advantage of their loneliness. “It’s not love talkin’…” A short but stinging set of guitar solos by Anson Funderburgh adds some nice punctuation mark to Tad’s vocals. Next we have ”He’s Moved On” where Tad sings a tender and soulful ballad with a strident backing vocal line that builds with Tad’s vocals before fading out. “Lead Me On” features Tad doing a Bobby Bland cut written by Don Robey. Picking up the pace a bit, Robinson hangs it out vocally a little for us here. “Mellow in Love” has Robinson doing a little falsetto as Kevin Anker supports well on the keys.
The original “Love is a Winner” has a little swing to it as Robinson gives another fine performance. “Blue Yesterday” slows down to let Robinson emote for us as he tells of his love lost. The band all gives us some tasty stuff to savor as Robinson bemoans the past. Tad gets the harp out for “While You Were Gone.” He sings of a stranger who became his lover while his woman left him. The harp is greasy and the groove is deep as Tad wails on and on. “Nightwatch” opens with the horns who are great in support and Moeller does a great job on guitar. “Need Some Better” is next and opens with the organ setting the tone. Robinson testifies as Anker waxes eloquently on the keys. Robinson and company close with“ Call Me” set with bigger instrumentals and a slightly slower beat than before. He also gives us a soulful spoken bridge where he talks to his woman about sitting down and talking some more. A beautiful close to an award-worthy record!
This is soul music done up fine. Robinson is a master bluesman who can sing with the best. I love his approach; his vocals are never overdone and in showing restraint he is able to really get his emotions expressed so effectively. This album will be garnering award nominations for the superlative vocal work by Tad and the great band backing him up. Most highly recommended!!!