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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Singer and nicely economical guitarist Debbie Bond is a champion for the blues of her Alabama home, having spent many years working with the likes of Johnny Shines (who settled there eventually), Eddie Kirkland and Alabama backwoods blues legend Willie King. On this, her fourth studio album, she covers songs from the last two just named, with Kirkland’s ‘Rainbow’ a moody, minor key blues, and King’s vaguely Latin tinged Howling Wolf influenced number both impressive performances. For much of the set though, Debbie and her excellent band (including her English husband “Radiator Rick” Asherson on keyboards and harmonica) combine blues, soul, Americana and southern rock with an occasional touch of country into an attractive and distinctive mix that is undeniably southern, with Debbie’s warm voice able to tackle the soul of Ann Peebles’ ‘Love Vibration’ (note also that Spooner Oldham crops up as special guest here) as comfortably as the wistful singer/ songwriter-ish ‘Start With Love’ and the closing, self–descriptive ‘Train Song’. The subtitle on the sleeve, ”Shoals Sessions”, gives an idea of the quality of this release, with a couple of FAME Studios names helping out; Debbie also acknowledges the influence of Bonnie Raitt with the presence here of Bonnie’s guitarist Will McFarlane on six tracks. Although all involved with this excellent album acquit themselves extremely well, here’s a special shout–out for the backing vocalists Rachel and Carla Edwards who make a huge, soulful contribution wherever they occur. But this set is Debbie’s, showing her as a very talented performer in more than just the blues. Well worth checking out – oh, and did I mention that she is in the UK and Ireland from June until the end of August?
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