The Gayle Harrod Band – Temptation | Album Review

The Gayle Harrod Band – Temptation

Self-produced CD

12 songs – 49 minutes

A blues belter with a powerful, expressive and occasionally gravelly delivery, Gayle Harrod took a lifetime before launching a music career in music. Now in her mid-50s, the Baltimore native makes her recording debut with this soulful set, and one listen will convince you it’s been worth the wait.

Harrod sang in public for the first time with the soul-blues ensemble Triple Shot at age 42 in 2011. In the years since, she’s developed her talent as a member of Blues Deluxe, a group whose act included classic rock, and the blues/R&B outfit, Shakedown.

Now a polished entertainer who’s been mentored by Gaye Adegbalola — the BMA-winning powerhouse who rose to prominence with Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women – and now fronting her own band, which is composed of several major talents from the mid-Atlantic music scene, Gayle’s more than ready to assume her rightful place in the spotlight.

Gayle recorded this one last summer and penned all 12 tunes in the set with a lineup that includes Stan Turk and Buddy Speir on guitars, Brian Simms on keys and Rachelle Danto on harmonica along with a rhythm section composed of bassist Christopher Brown and percussionist Chuck Ferrell. Speir produced and contributes additional keys and bass, too.

Recorded at 38 North Studios in Falls Church, Va., guitarists Sol Roots, Jonathan Sloane and Bobby Thompson make guest appearances along with the Beltway Horns – Greg Boyer (trombone), Brad Clements (trumpet) and Brent Birckhead (alto sax). And Mary Ann Redmond, Dusty Rhodes and The Voices of Faith of the First Baptist Church of Baltimore – Shelley Ensor, Amy S. Taylor, Alice Chase Dorsey, Pamela Grimes, Val Murray, Sharlette L. Taylor, Lenard Foust and Steve Grimes – provide backing vocals.

Fresh and forceful throughout, “Sweet Memphis Man” opens the action atop a funky, medium-paced shuffle with a stop-time arrangement as Harrod describes a case of love at first sight after walking through the doors of a Bluff City nightspot. The mood darkens and beat intensifies for “Come on People,” which urges peace and understanding in troubled times, before the hard-hitting ballad “Baby We’re Through” announces the end of a relationship that should have never started.

The theme continues in the languorous “Temptation” and finds Gayle trapped between an angel and a devil on her shoulders as she tries to make sense of it all before she decides to throw caution to the wind the man under the covers “In the Deep Dark Night” and then requests that he “Bring Me Along” in the uptempo number that follows.

The Delta-infused ballad, “Waiting in the Shadows,” is up next and celebrates finding solace, comfort and love in the arms of someone after a 15-year wait then gives way to the horn-fueled “Break” and rocker “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which are delivered from the other side of the romance before Harrod hooks up with an ex in “The In Between.” Two more pleasers – the fiery “God Laughed” and sweet “Beautiful Friend” – close the set.

A rock-solid debut, don’t resist…Temptation is worth a listen!

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