Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps – Live! | Album Review

Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps – Live!


Jesi-lu Records

13 songs time – 53:26

Houston born now California based Teresa James and her deeply soulful pipes and keyboards takes different variations of her band through their paces at one of their favorite California venues Bogie’s. Their sound is deeply rooted in rhythm & blues, boogie-woogie and a smidgen of blues, all driven by a first rate horn section. Her voice has some of the roughness of Janis Joplin’s, but it is more controlled. The songs range from smoking rhythm & blues workouts to soul stirring ballads.

“In The Pink” gets things off on the good foot as Teresa expounds on the healing powers of the blues. She leads the band through The Five Royals’ jump boogie “I Like It Like That” with her barrelhouse piano. “Put The Squeeze On Me” and “Don’t Make A Habit Of It” are both ballads with the former being more intense. Another ballad “Forgetting You” tenderly tugs at the heart strings with the yearning vocal delivery. “Easier Said Than Done” is a tight and smooth slice of R&B.

Guitarist Billy Watts steps up to the plate for a fiery duet on Etta James’ “If I Can’t Have You”. Watts also contributes a stinging guitar solo. They turn in a worthy version of Allen Toussaint’s funky “Shoorah Shoorah” allowing Teresa to show off her piano skills. Billy Watts adds his blues guitar to the tale of the passing of Gregg Allman “The Day The Blues Came To Call”.

The percussion driven piano romp of the Tex-Mex inflected “I Want It All” is infectious as all get out. Teresa ends with what is virtually the theme song for the band, the roadhouse rocker “Long Way From Texas”. This the only song where the horn players sit out. The guitar takes up the slack as the band rocks on out.

Solid horn driven R&B with a full throated songstress performing well crafted songs, what’s not to like? Every instrument fits perfectly into the groove to carry a seamless sound. Teresa’s hearty vocals and boogying piano take you right back to Texas even if you’ve never been there.

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