Put Together (label)
19 May 2017 (released)
24 April 2017
I have a sore back, twisted knee and a smile wide enough to hurt my cheeks and I blame it all on the Reverend. What a bloody album!
The album starts safely enough with ‘’Days Of Depression’, Amos singing over a dark picked guitar with handclaps and the beautiful voices of the Blind Boys of Alabama gradually turning the gospel up and then BAM! He rocks into ‘Brand New Man’, all horns and pounding beat and I’m dancing around the room just like my chiropractor told me not to. Screaming guitar solo and, oh .. those horns.
Then he continues with the heavy, heavy boogie beat on the appropriately titled ‘Boogie’ before swinging into a seriously groovy ‘Brothers Keeper’ – heavy soul with a great Muscle Shoals groove.
Then there is the joy of ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I Get Home)’ – a brilliant Blues with a humungous sense of funk about it and some great harmonica.
If you get the impression that this is a special album – well it is!
Amos has had a hard life – growing up with whores, pimps and drug dealers as well as a seriously mentally ill mother. He grew up musically playing sax and singing with a succession of bands before getting caught up in the LA riots after the ‘Rodney King verdicts’ and going off in very different directions to the Blues and R&B he had been playing.
All of that hardship comes over now in his music but in a positive way. Music of power and passion and completely immersed in the music of his origins.
Listen to a number like ‘Joliet Bound’ – a shuffle Blues about the injustices of the court system but still with a sense of self-pride that lifts the song well away from the darkness of the theme.
Or ‘Outlaw’ – funky and hard edged and with a chest out and proud vocal. And more of those sumptuous horns against a stunning guitar line.
His version of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ is a wonderful, sleazy Blues with great vocal from producer Mindi Aboir.
I seriously adore this album, it is a certainty to be one of my picks of the year and definitely one of the highlights of the last few months.