fea. Larry Taylor, Tony Braunagel, Jim Pugh & Nancy Wright
Little Village Foundation
Chris Cain was born in San Jose, California in 1955. He began playing guitar as a teenager and studied music at San Jose City College. He also mastered piano, bass, clarinet, and saxophone. Cain didn’t release his debut recording until 1987. As a result “Late Night City Blues” received a Blues Music Award nomination. He signed a recording contract with Blind Pig Records and between 1990 and 1995 released three albums. In 2001 he released “Cain Does King” and became one of the most highly respected interpreters of B.B. King’s music. This is Cain’s twelfth album overall and first for Little Village Foundation.
The outstanding band on this recording includes Cain, guitar, piano, alto sax and vocals; Larry Taylor or Kid Andersen, bass; Tony Braunagel, drums; Jim Pugh, piano and Hammond organ; Nancy Wright, tenor sax; Jack Sanford, baritone sax; John Halbleib, trumpet; Aki Kumar, harmonica; and background vocalists Lisa Andersen and Courtney Knott. The album is co-produced by Andersen and Pugh.
“Tired of The Way You Do” is the first of eight originals written by Cain. Cain delivers a great vocal. On the second verse the horn section of Wright and Sanford come in. Cain takes a fabulous guitar solo.
On “Meanest Woman in Town” Halbleib is added on trumpet. Pugh is featured on piano before Wright takes her sax solo. Cain is soloing while the song fades.
“My Baby Wants To Leave Me” is a slower tune with a fabulous horn arrangement. “Tell Tale Signs” is a jazzy tune; Cain plays both piano and some jazz guitar. “Trying To Forget It” is some more R n’ B with Pugh switching to the B-3.
Braunagel’s drum beat opens “Back on Top” a.k.a. “Back on Top of My World” co-written with Michael Butler. The song first appeared on Cain’s live album “Live At The Rep”. Cain and Butler were commissioned to compose music and lyrics for Keith Glover’s “Thunder Knocking on the Door: A Musical Tale of Rhythm and Blues” for the San Jose Repertory Theater. Pugh plays both piano and organ. The background singers are also featured.
“Sitting Here Wondering...what’s gonna become of me” features Cain again on both piano and guitar and Pugh on the organ. Cain’s solos are incredible. “Evil Minded Woman” features Kumar on harmonica.
There are also two great covers. Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Kidney Stew” is given a marvelous treatment. Cain plays both guitar and alto sax while Pugh is on piano. This is a great version.
“Your Gonna Need Me” is from Albert King and Anderson is added on rhythm guitar. “When the train leaves the station you’re gonna hang your head and cry”.
Cain’s performances are intense and highly passionate. He has an unusually deep feeling for the music that is unparalleled by most artists. This album is highly recommended and a must to own.
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