This Valentine’s Day, on February 14, 2020, the respected American bluesman ALBERT CUMMINGS will release his new album, titled “Believe” through Provogue / Mascot Label Group.
The album was recorded at the celebrated FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a place that was chosen by people like the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to record their sounds. More recently, Gregg Allman’s last album, Southern Blood, was recorded at FAME in March 2016.
Aided by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana) Cummings drew inspiration from the rich recording legacy of Muscle Shoals to create a timeless album that’s filled with funk, rhythm and soul and is not only a testament to the great who went before, but will also stand as a commemorative achievement on its own merits. “You can hear the difference between this album and my others, and that is the Muscle Shoals difference,” Cummings says of the project.
Over a long and fruitful career Cummings has played alongside B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy and worked with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section Double Trouble.
The musician tends to be underrated in the UK and Europe, which is perhaps a surprise given that he plays rocky riffs and powerful foot-stomping busters along with some brilliantly executed ballads, so his music is a memory of the best of masters, and reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimmie Hendrix.
This classics album launches with a fresh interpretation of “Hold On” written by Isaac Hayes and originally performed by Sam & Dave. It’s wholehearted and amicable covering with a generous backdrop of horns and voices. The exquisite guitar from Cummings has a silky sweetness that is difficult to define, but is best described as ethereal in its tanginess.
The album includes a version of the Willie Dixon classic “Red Rooster” (already available as an audio track on YouTube, see below) that has flashes of kerosene guitar and sandstone vocals that run along a linear rhythm. But it is the nitrous guitar confetti centre-stage that will supercharge your day.
Another stand-out track, even though it is somewhat guitar-lite, is his rendition of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” with some wonderful keys, a relaxing vibe and a shimmying handclap beat that gladdens the heart.
The album closes with Freddie King’s brave regret about how the blues will have to replace someone’s love. Me and My Guitar has funky rhythms and screeches of guitar from the beginning. This is sparkling and fiery with large plumes of sound and more grit and gumption than you can possibly imagine.
This is an excellent collection of sometimes spontaneous, often funky, and usually kinglike covers, which are, of course, executed in translation to perfection by this master musician. Cummings has the kind of courage and charisma you thought might be gone with the Velvet Bulldozer in 1992. Impressive!
Words: @neilmach 2020 ©
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