Saturday, January 13, 2018

#313 : Bernard Allison - Let it Go

2018 –Ruf Records
Release Date : February 2, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Jan 6, 2018

I have nothing but the highest of praise for Bernard Allison’s latest album Let it Go.  It’s a delightful blend of blues, funk and soul.   With this release, Bernard returns to Ruf Records, the label Thomas Ruf created for his father, the late great bluesman Luther Allison in 1994.  Bernard’s band is wonderfully tight and consists of rhythm guitarist John T. McGhee, bassist George Moye, and drummer Mario Dawson.  Recorded by the legendary music producer, Jim Gaines, the album was recorded at Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee.

From the beginning, I’m hooked by the spirited rhythm and bouncy groove on “Cruisin for a Bluesin”.  It wonderfully ignites into a smoking guitar performance.  His soulful vocals on title track “Let it Go” are suave and soulful.  This is such a terrific song.  There’s a definitely a bit of the P-Funk influence on the front end of “Night Train”.  I love the bassline Moye throws down as Bernard takes this fresh, funky track to the next level with his guitar mastery.  Covered and topped with Dawson’s dynamic drumming, this is one phenomenal listen. 

Bernard charmingly takes on Brook Benton’s 1960 hit single “Kiddio”, enlisting the magnificent Jose Ned James on sax. For a fabulous finale, the listener is treated to two wonderful covers originally recorded by his father, Luther.  First served is the delicious slow-cooked blues of “You’re Gonna Need Me”, from the 1982 album South Side Safari. Then for a captivating closer, Bernard beautifully performs “Castle”, from Luther’s 1994 album Hand Me Down My Moonshine. 
Over the years, Bernard Allison has continued to push the envelope in his songwriting and artistry, and that certainly shows in Let it Go


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