Tia Carroll – You Gotta Have It
Tia Carroll is a Bay Area vocalist with a powerful voice and fantastic delivery. She’s spent years with her own band backing her back home and has also done extensive work in both Brazil and Italy. Here we finally get her first American studio recording and it’s a good one. Carroll gives us three original tunes along with eight well chosen covers that she just takes and makes her own. She’s chosen an amazing set of musicians to back her and they along with Carroll give us their all.
The album was done at Greaseland and it oozes with the creativity of Kid Andersen and his team. Jim Pugh handles the keyboard work on piano and organ. Steve Ehrmann plays the bass and Paul Revellli is on drums except for the first track with Derick D’Mar Martin on drums. Vicki Randall adds percussion on “Leaving Again.” Backing vocals are handled by the great Gospel group The Sons of the Soul Revivers. They add so much to the cuts they appear on. Kid’s wife backs Tia on the song she co wrote with Kid, as does Willy Jordan. The horns are Mike Rinta on trombone, Rob Sudduth on tenor sax, Aaron Lington on baritone sax, Jeff LEwis on trumpet and SAx Gordon Beadle on saxes (tracks 5 and 8 only for him). Other guests are noted below.
“Ain’t Nobody Worryin’” starts things off. Carroll sings with grit and passion on this Anthony Hamilton cover. Charlie Hunter joins Tia on guitar and bass simultaneously and the funk and feeling are amazing. The backing vocals are also superb. What a great start to such a fine album. Her song “Even When I’m Not Alone” follows, a somber and soulful ballad where Carroll testifies to us with emotion and soul; she really reaches out and grabs the listener as does Pugh’s organ work. Organist Jim Pugh’s song “Our Last Time” is next, a song he recorded with Robert Cray. Kid Andersen channels some Magic Sam on guitar and the song just rocks. Carroll lays out her soul to bare and Anderson nails the lead guitar; well done! Rick Estrin’s “Don’t Put Your Hands On Me” is a slick cut with nice horn support. It was written for Koko Taylor and it’s typical Estrin lyrics with wit and his sly approach to songwriting. Carroll sings with authority as the horns blare and piano tinkles behind her. Andersen gives us an impassioned solo to savor, too. The tempo gets turned down for “Never Let Me Go,” an old song made famous by Johnny Ace. Carroll makes this one her own, too, singing with restraint for the most part but unleashing her power to make her point as needed. It’s a great ballad and the horns give it even more feeling. “Leaving Again” is another original that’s a sexy and sultry throwback sort of cut that hearkens to the time of my youth; more good stuff here with some more great guitar and vocals.
“Mama Told Me” is a deep and cool blues that Carroll and company really deliver the goods on. Andersen’s guitar wails, Pugh’s piano is great, and the horns blaze. It’s really a cool and well done cut. Kid Andersen and wife Lisa wrote the next song, “Ready to Love Again.” It is a rollicking and rolling song that has great horn support and really jumps and jives. “I Need Someone” is a Z.Z. Hill classic soul tune with the Sons of the Soul Survivors doing great harmonies behind Carroll. The organ adds to the mix and the guitar solo is sublime. Carroll’s third and final original is “Move On,” with Brazilian guitarist Igor Prado on lead. His guitar work stings and Carroll gives an assertive performance as the horns give ample support. The album closes with the Staples Singers’ “Why Am I Treated So Bad.” The Sons of the Soul Survivors offer some more fantastic support to Carroll in this fine rendition of this song. Carroll and the Sons take us to church and give a stirring Gospel performance. Andersen offers up another solo on his guitar that blends well with the somber feeling and mood set by the song, as does Pugh’s keyboard work.
This is a super album from top to bottom. Carroll shows us what she’s made of and delivers to us a fine soul blues album that will make folks sit up and take notice. I highly recommend this one, folks. It’s a winner!