Bernard Allison Group
In The Mix
This is a new more lyrical and improved Bernard Allison. Allison’s guitar is further back in the mix on most of the tracks and his vocals the best of his career. He sounds more relaxed and without a need to prove his guitar prowess. This is less a blues rock cd and more soulful a recording than I’ve ever heard from Bernard.
It’s been five years since Allison’s last studio recording, “The Otherside”, also on Jazzhaus Records. Allison opens with “Five Long Years” written by his friend Canadian Colin James. It is a highly danceable groove featuring the sax of Jose Ned James. Bernard finishes with one of his signature guitar solos.
The Bernard Allison Group includes Bernard, vocals and guitar; George Moye, bass; Mario Dawson, drums; and Mark “Muggie Doo” Leach, keyboards. Pianist Bruce McCabe also guests on several tracks.
Saxophonist James is again featured on the next three tracks. “Call Me Momma” was co-written by Bernard with his mother Fannie Mae Allison. It just drips of Southern soul. I don’t ever remember hearing a song like this from Bernard. He reminds me of Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
“Move From The Hood” is the first of two songs included that were written by his dad Luther. The elder Allison was the first artist ever recorded by Ruf Records and has been sorely missed since his untimely passing in August of 1997. Bernard gets into a funky groove led by his solid rhythm section. “Tell Me Who” is the first of several more originals from Bernard and once again James is featured on the saxophone.
“Somethings’ Wrong” is another new song from Bernard. “Lust For You” was co-authored by Bernard with his friend Ronnie Baker Brooks. It features a fabulous off the wall guitar solo from Bernard.
Again Bernard’s song selection is revealing. To me “I Had It All The Time” written by Tyrone Davis, says it all. This Southern soul statement is brilliantly performed by Bernard whose musical maturity at this stage of his career establishes him on so many new levels. Bernard just turned fifty years young and if this is what the future will bring from him then his best musical years are still ahead of him.
“I’d Rather Be Blind” is from Freddie King and another sensitive song that comes alive in the hands of Bernard. “Set Me Free” is the last of five new songs.
“Moving On Up” closes the album. It was written by Luther and it is an appropriate finish to this fabulous album.
Bernard dedicates this album to Johnny Winter and Michael “Iron Man” Burks who both left us way too soon. This is the best I’ve ever heard from Bernard and among the best recordings so far this year.