Larry Griffith is a beloved musician around Atlanta and for this, his fifth album, he is joined by some fantastic musicians from a city that breeds fantastic musicians: Barry Richman is on guitar, Rashan Smith on drums and keys, Dana McCarthy on bass. Michael Milsap is also on keys. Tom Regeski is on saxophone and Little Joey Hoegger is on harmonica. Teresa Lynn and Deborah Carr provide vocals.
That may seem like a big sound and it is. That’s not even counting the extra players that show up for “I’m Free.” Griffith himself plays drums and guitar in addition to handling all the vocals. He also wrote, arranged and produced all the songs. If you are not impressed yet, just wait until you hear it!
And he did all of this while going through a breakup. Then he had to postpone production for two months to have throat surgery! Yet he created an album full of bounce and swing. And this man can sing!
The album starts with “Hoodoo Hannah,” a spooky little song about a hoodoo woman. We all know enough about blues to know she spells trouble! It leads into a mellow blues with a hint of swing about a different type of woman trouble, “It’s Always Gonna Be Something With You.” Listen to the harmonica and saxophone in the middle, and Larry’s conversational bits too.
“Ain’t What They Call You” takes me right back to the great groups like Archie Bell and the Drells. It is a wonderful song with some sage advice: It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” “I Know” opens with the sax providing a lot of attitude for the accusatory “I Know.” Keys emphasize the message perfectly: this woman isn’t fooling anybody!
“I Do, I Did, I’m Done,” continues the strutting accompaniment as Griffith tells us about the hard lesson he learned. “Slow Grind: takes us somewhere else entirely, off for a sexy, smoking “Slow Grind,” about dancing. Yeah. It is followed by the soulful “Had Enough,” Larry’s sincere delivery enhanced by Lynn and Carr’s luscious background vocals.
“I’m Free” is a getting-over-you song, with some great guests adding to Larry’s amazing vocals. Stephen Milsap adds drums, George Price adds guitar, and Ray Tanner adds trumpet. There are fantastic harmonies and the whole thing is reminiscent of The Drifters and The Temptations.
The CD ends with “Mama Tried,” a tribute to a woman who never gave up and helped her family survive.
For an album that deals so obviously with real emotion, this album is still a happy one, For many listeners, it will bring back memories of summer days, strolling on the beach or blasting music out of car windows. Even if you can’t do those things, turn it on, close your eyes, and you will feel like you are! It’s great music, guaranteed to make you feel good!