In 1973 when Duke Robillard was putting together the original Roomful of Blues he chose Al Basile as his first trumpet player. Both of them left that band in 1975 but they have remained friends as Robillard has produced all of Basile’s albums. This is Basile’s thirteenth studio recording.
Basile is a five times Blues Music Award nominee in the category Best Instrumentalist – Horn. Basile was also recently musical director for the Knickerbocker All-Stars “Go Back Home to The Blues” project. The experience was a déjà-vu as Basile re-connected with the Roomful of Blues alumni and the vibe the Knicks created. In the weeks following that project Basile wrote these thirteen new songs and all of their horn arrangements. Basile’s songs reflect his musical values and are influenced by the blues, jazz, soul, and gospel of the late 50’s and early 60’s.
The Mid-Century Modern band consists of Basile, cornet and vocals; “Monster” Mike Welch, guitar; Bruce Bears, keyboards; Brad Hallen, bass; and Mark Teixera, drums. The horn section includes Doug James, baritone and tenor sax and bass clarinet; Rich Lataille, alto and tenor sax; and Jeff Chanonhouse, trumpet.
“Keep Your Love, Where’s My Money” features the horn section of James and Lataille. Basile takes his cornet solo followed by one from Bears on piano.
My favorite songs display Basile’s sense of humor especially “I’ve Got to Have Meat (with every Meal)”. It is a Louis Jordan styled song with the lyric “baked, broiled, fried, or grilled, I know that stuff’s gonna get me killed, it’s an appetite I can’t conceal, I’ve just got to have meat with every meal”. Lataille takes a sax solo, followed by Basile on the cornet and James on the baritone sax.
“Tickle My Mule” is a metaphor about the dialogue between mind and body and the “je ne sais quoi” that makes a successful relationship. It includes the double entendre “there’ll be no ridin’ unless you tickle my mule”.
“Like You or Despise You” is a poignant statement about relationships. This time Basile takes a muted cornet solo followed by a guitar solo from Monster Mike.
“Lie Under the House With Me” is the autobiographical closer about Basile and his childhood girlfriend “do you remember Cheryl, lying under the house with me, it’s cool and it’s quiet there, that’s where I long to be”. Chanonhouse plays a muted trumpet, while Latille plays alto sax and James switches to the bass clarinet. Robillard takes a fine guitar solo.
Basile continues to expand his adventurous music. This is a highly enjoyable album perfect for those late night encounters.