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Threshold
     

Threshold

by Sugar Blue
 
Over his lengthy career going back to a stint with the Rolling Stones, it's hard to believe this is only Sugar Blue's sixth recording. It's a very good one, though, and if anything is worth waiting for, his first-rate, virtuoso harmonica playing always satisfies the true blues connoisseur in the attack and fluid lines he doles out.

Overview

Over his lengthy career going back to a stint with the Rolling Stones, it's hard to believe this is only Sugar Blue's sixth recording. It's a very good one, though, and if anything is worth waiting for, his first-rate, virtuoso harmonica playing always satisfies the true blues connoisseur in the attack and fluid lines he doles out. He's never received enough credit as a singer, with a clean, soulful, near crooner's delivery that appeals to young and old, male and female. This set of originals does at times stray into pop music, but that has always been Blue's style. His themes are more diverse than most love
ot love lyrics, from everyman's blues to holiday or protest songs, tributes to heroes, and even a classic interpretation or two. He wrote or co-wrote most all of the tunes, save Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller's "Trouble" (in a Chicago-style blues funk) and the stern "Don't Call Me," adding "don't text me" to the lyric of this slow pop tune. At his best, Blue is wailing on his harp during the long and loose "Ramblin'," where he layers his instrument through overdubbing, does a great "Messin' with the Kid" in a mean, funky context, and plays "Cotton Time" in a smoother vein for blues legend James Cotton. The New Orleans shuffle "Noel News" in reference to Christmas Eve, "Nightmare" in a lonely man/bad woman scenario, and the cool "Average Guy" add good contrast, the latter tune talking about how normal dudes understand the blues too. Sound of birds and guns introduce "Stop the War," an unexpected song of dissent that stands out not only for its sentiment different than the other tracks talking about "murder in the first degree," but the rock & roll and funk beat that Blue adopts. Guitarist Rico McFarland is in on this, and he's excellent throughout, while second guitarist Motoaki Makino, keyboardist Damiano Della Torre, and drummer James Knowles keep the music cool and even-keeled, never boiling over. The last track is a rather poorly recorded interview segment where the leader talks about the other instruments he has tried out before, as he says "the harmonica chose me." Sugar Blue has never been fully or properly hailed as the complete, talented, soulful blues man he is, but this recording further punctuates his validity and uniqueness -- you know it's him from the first five seconds. You will also know you'll like this recorded effort just as quickly.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/26/2010
Label:
Beeble
UPC:
0884501218641
catalogNumber:
802
Rank:
190693

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sugar Blue   Primary Artist,Harmonica,Vocals
Bill Dickens   Bass,Guest Appearance
James Knowles   Drums
Rico McFarland   Electric Guitar
Motoaki Makino   Electric Guitar,Classical Guitar
Armirris Palmore   Background Vocals
Roberta Thomas   Background Vocals
Samuel Torres   Percussion
Felicia Coleman Evans   Background Vocals
Ilaria Lantieri   Bass,Keyboards
Noel Neal   Bass
Damiano Della Torre   Accordion,Keyboards,Hammond Organ
Jesse Cross   Bass
Ivano Ghidoni   Sousaphone
Sergio Montaleni   Guitar

Technical Credits

Jerry Leiber   Composer
Sugar Blue   Producer,Liner Notes
James Knowles   Drum Triggers
Mike Stoller   Composer
Rick Barnes   Engineer
Marco Guarnerio   Engineer
Tetsuya Hirota   Engineer
Ilaria Lantieri   Producer,Drum Triggers
Knowles   Composer
Virginia Barghini   Interviewer

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