The Texas Horns – Everybody Let’s Roll | Album Review

The Texas Horns – Everybody Let’s Roll

Blue Heart Records

13 songs, 53 minutes

There is magic in the music made by lifers – musicians who have dedicated their lives to walking the crossroad studded path of the Blues. The music that these people make crackles with the countless stages they have mounted, the millions of miles they have traveled to spread the good Blue word, the endless 12 bar jam session. The Texas Horns Everybody Let’s Roll is a summit of these master craftspeople at their loosest and most effective. The music therefore is remarkable, uproarious and a testament to the depth and breadth of Texas Blues.

Horn players often form into 3 or 4 piece units who can develop a marketable sound. The Texas Horns are one of the most distinct and well respected. Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff on tenor sax, vocals and harmonica, Al Gomez on trumpet and John Mills on saxophone (often the bottom rumbling bari sax) have for the past 25 years plus graced some of the most important records and most prestigious stages in the Blues world. For their 3rd record under their own name they pulled together a core band of Johnny Moeller on guitar, Matt Hubbard or Sean Giddings on keys, Chris Maresh on bass and Tommy Taylor, Jason Corbiere and Brannen Temple taking turns on drums.

Everybody Let’s Roll is aptly titled because a who’s who of real deal Texas, or Texas associated, Blues musicians seamlessly flow in and out of the record. Most prominent, but always understated and tasteful, is the six string wizardry of Anson Funderburgh, playing his distinctive lead on 5 of the tunes. Carolyn Wonderland and Mike Zito only offer their vocal ranges on a track each not each of their distinct guitar prowess. Inversely Marcia Ball tickles the ivories while forgoing showing off her soulful pipes. Jimmie Vaughan and Mike Flanigin bring their deep bass-less organ vibe to 2 songs. Jimmie wrangles strings and sings because, well, he’s Jimmie. Austin local legend Guy Forsyth rasps out 2 songs next to 1 song each for Texas Jazz singer Carmen Bradford and Michael Cross.

What distinguishes this record is that there is no loss of quality or engagement between the various singers taking center stage or between the sung tracks and the instrumental tracks. Original instrumental compositions “Apocalypso” and “I Ain’t Mad with You” stand tall next to covers like the Blues romp “J.B.’s Rock” which features Vaughan and Flanigin. What will probably knock listeners out is the lounge flecked take on the Beatles “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” A great tune to take as an instrumental, The Texas Horns slink through the melody line dripping with cool.

The Texas Horns really can do no wrong. These journeyman horn players have brought their craft to a high level of individuality and expression. Through hard work, deep passion and commitment, they have developed a unique and immediately identifiable sound. By bringing their community of colleagues together on Everybody Let’s Roll, they let us the audience in on the party.

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