The Mighty Soul Drivers – I’ll Carry You Home
Hog Heaven Records
This New England soul band has worked for a decade to perfect their sound. Featuring veteran musicians, these guys are superb. Bob Orsi fronts the band and plays some rhythm guitar; he’s a solid singer with a voice that beautifully blends passion and power. River City Slim (Peter Rost) handles the drums, Larry Wiley is on lead guitar, Tony Delisio is on bass, Steve Donovan plays keys, John Smayda is on the saxes, and Neil Tint is on trumpet and flugelhorn. Paul Gabriel delivers guitar solos on a couple of cuts as does Michael St. George on another one. Slim and Orsi put this band together and they are delivering a fine second album for us all to savor.
They begin with a cool cover of “Can’t Get Next to You,” a slow and funky cover of this Temptations classic. Great vocals, backing vocals, guitar and a a deep groove make this cut special. Next is the title track, a pretty and slow blues ballad. Orsi’s vocals, backing vocals and Tint’s horn sell this one. “Party By The Tower” picks up the pace as the band sets a nice groove and Orsi swings through the lead. More great backing vocals on this one, too, and there’s also a nice sax and guitar solo.” A Little Bit of That” follows, a mid tempo piece with nice organ and horns that set the table for Orsi to shine.
Solomon Burke’s “Cry To Me” gets a cool cover by Orsi and the Soul drivers along with Denise Powell who helps on the vocals. They sing with depth and emotion and the horns help this be a winner. Next is “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog,” a great Bobby Blue Bland tune that the band adapts to their sound. It’s a cool rendition and they make it their own. Nice guitar work here, too. “Cold, Cold Night” is a slick original that gets the body moving. Big guitar solo here (Gabriel) and a nice organ solo adds to the mix and sweetly and takes us home. “Tell Daddy” is up next, a cover of Clarence Carter’s hit song. Orsi again shines vocally; the extended tenor sax solo is really excellent here, too, lasting for almost the entire second half of the song.
A trio of original cuts concludes the album. “Parking Lot Blues” is a nice, soulful, slow blues where Denise Powell backs Orsi again. “Piece of My Pride” is a bouncy swinging cut with more sublime vocals, sax and extended piano work; well done!. They finish up with “Dressed to Kill,” a funky tune with a nice groove. Smayda again kills it on sax and Orsi and the band deliver a final performance leaving the listener wanting for more.
This is my first exposure to these guys but it won’t be my last. These guys are a great band; a fine set of musicians who can funky it up with anyone. Seven new cuts and four fine covers make for an outstanding sophomore release. I really enjoyed this album as will anyone looking for great, new soul blues to savor! I hope to have an opportunity to catch these guys live soon!