Philadelphia born singer, guitarist and songwriter Tom Craig and drummer John O'Connell have been playing blues and roots music together for the past ten years or so, and they recently joined up with Hammond organist Eric Johnson, tenor saxophonist Vince Gleason and baritone saxman Skyler Hagner, adding a few guests including the Vizztone label's Dave Gross on bass and backing vocals on four numbers on this, the debut album for this Delaware-based outfit. Its inspiration is clearly the blues and soul sounds of the 60s, with a little overspill perhaps into the early years of the following decade. The opener 'Louita' reminded me a little of the Chess singles of the early 60s, when the blues sound was evolving away from the 50s towards that of the coming soul music - lovely horn work here too. Then there's 'Ballroom Dancer', very much in the vein of James Hunter or Eli "Paperboy" Reed, recreating the pop R'n'B sound of the early 60s, not an easy style to pull off convincingly - too often it can sound cheesy, but there's no danger of that with Tom's authentic stylings. 'Captain Funk' is just that, 'Please Forgive Me Baby' channels BB King and the closing 'Every Woman' evokes Little Willie John's blues ballads, with subtle hints of Sam Cooke and maybe some of the pop-jazz crooners.
These guys definitely achieve their desired approach. A little unusually these days, there is thankfully no (contemporary) rock influence at all as they display a thorough understanding of these various styles without ever sounding consciously "retro". Certainly worth checking out.