Val Starr & The Blues Rockets – To The Blues and Back Again | Album Review

Val Starr & The Blues Rockets – To The Blues and Back Again

Sandwich Factory Records

13 tracks

Sacramento chanteuse Val Starr releases her seventh album with this effort, and once again it features all-original songs. Starr fronts the band and plays rhythm guitar. John Ellis handles bass, Tim Brisson is on lead guitar, and on harp is Frankie Munz. New to Starr’s band are Kirk Hooper on drums and Pamela Charles Arthur is on keys. Saxophones are provided by Marty Deradoorian and Saxophone Zot. Dave Segal is a guest on guitar on “Worn Down Blues” and “Bluesin” and Stephen Kimball is on guitar on the track prior to these two. “Bitter Pill” features B. Christopher on guitar. Darrel Echos handles drums on the final track.

The title track opens the album. Starr sings with her typical angst and emotion. There’s some nice harp and guitar work here to spice things up sweetly. It’s a bouncy shuffle with a nice groove. “Bitter Pill” follows, a slow blues ballad that Starr croons out with passion. The guitar solos match the feelings expressed. Then it’s “Take A Stand For Love,” a more modern styled blues.

“If You Don’t Blues It, You Lose It” is a jump blues with swinging piano and great sound as is “Gratitude Is The Best Cure For The Blues.”

“Ask Me No Questions” is a cool blues featuring some interesting organ and sax along with some well done guitar. “The Blues That Move Me” is another slick ballad that Starr and Brisson sell well. Next is “Bluesin’” with some cool slide work and a a sweet little shuffle going on. “Worn Down Blues” gets a little mid-60’s rock going and moves along smartly. Starr shows versatility in song writing and performing and the guitar rings nicely in support.

“Patience” swings with some nice keys and a bouncy delivery by Starr. “Move Over Baby” gives us a Chicago Blues feel as the guitar gets down and the band gets a nice groove going.  Organ support is super, too. Then it’s “Big City Blues (Rescue Me),” a more contemporary track sung with deep feeling and emotion. More big organ and guitar are featured here. The final track is the ballad “Did You Ever Notice” where the band musically switches gears heavily into the ballad mode. It’s a pretty cut and deep.

The songs are well crafted. Vocally, Starr sings with this angst and heartbreak that seems to drive and take over most songs. Her vibrato and vocal delivery remain pretty much the same from cut to cut. All in all it’s a good album and the musicianship is quite good.

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