Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

Alabama Shakes
Boys and Girls
ATO Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

The opening track of Alabama Shakes debut album, Boys and Girls ("Hold On") will absolutely send chills up your spine.

You will be asking, Where did these guys and young lady come from and how can they be so accomplished at Blues and R&B at such a young age?

The answers of course are Athens, Alabama and either you feel and live the blues or you don't.

You really can't teach this stuff. Although, as mentioned in a recent interview,  AS's Bethany Howard and Zac Cockrell cut their teeth listening, learning and covering the music of Led Zeppelin and Otis Redding.

Even though reminiscent of the early R&B and Blues Pioneers, Alabama Shakes have their own fresh, unique sound.  It's raw, energized, and powerful stuff.

You will have a hard time finding this sound anywhere else today.

Can you say Grammy award winner?  If this album doesn't at least get consideration for Record of the Year....this reporter will be absolutely shocked.  This is the best album I have heard this year.

The sound of Alabama Shakes is anchored by Bethany Howard, who at the tender age of 23, can already take her place right up there with some of the best Female R&B and singers like Etta James, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.

Yes, she is that powerful and that good.

The band consisting of Heath Fogg on guitar, Zac Cockrell on bass, Ben Tanner on keyboards, and Steve Johnson (drums) with Bethany Howard (guitars) is just as wonderful and proficient as any backing band out of Stax Records in the 1960's.

See if you don't think of Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company on "You Ain't Alone" or Aretha Franklin and the Stax Records legendary House Bands on the second track "I Found You".

The group continued it's meteoric rise in popularity with two great live intimate shows in Southern California this past week and a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live

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