The Love Light Orchestra featuring John Nemeth
Live from Bar DKDC in Memphis, TN!
Blue Barrel Records
John Nemeth now lives in Memphis, Tn. In the days following the 2017 Blues Music Awards Nemeth performed with this ensemble. Those fortunate enough to have seen them live have since been waiting for this new release.
The Love Light Orchestra is fronted by Nemeth who formed the big band with guitarist Joe Restivo and legendary trumpeter Marc Franklin. Both Restivo and Franklin are also members of The Bo-Keys the band that backed Nemeth on his 2015 BMA winning album “Memphis Grease”.
The ten piece orchestra includes Nemeth, vocals; Franklin, trumpet; Scott Thompson, trumpet; Jason Yasinsky, trumpet; Art Edmaiston, tenor saxophone; Kirk Smothers, baritone saxophone; Restivo, guitar; Gerald Stephens, piano; Tim Goodwin, bass; and Earl Lowe, drums. Franklin, Edmaiston and Lowe previously toured with Bobby “Blue” Bland and the band has taken its name from Bland’s 1961 hit “Turn On Your Love Light”. The album is produced by Matt Ross-Spang.
Bland and his arranger Joe Scott are the initial inspiration behind the sophisticated horn driven blues heard here and the orchestra reprises classics including Bland’s “I’ve Been Wrong So Long”, a 1960 single on Duke Records. Nemeth is fabulous on this emotional plea. Also included and recorded by Bland in 1966 was “Poverty”.
Don Robey, owner of Duke Records was also a songwriter, often using the pseudonym Deadric Malone. Written by him and included here are Little Junior Parker’s 1958 single “Sometimes” and Buddy Ace’s 1960 recording “This Little Love of Mine”.
Two B.B. Kings covers are included: “Bad Breaks” featuring some great guitar from Restivo and a baritone sax solo from Smothers; and Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone To Love” first recorded by Mayfield in 1950. Nemeth’s vocal is just wonderful.
The song selection includes Lake Charles, La. native Charles Sheffield’s “It’s Your Voodoo Working”, a regional hit for him in 1961 on Excello Records. This version features a fabulous horn arrangement with solos by Edmaiston and Franklin.
Freddie King’s “What About Love”, written by Sammy Taylor and a 1962 single on Federal Records, is another horn driven romp sung by Nemeth.
Three originals are included. Restivo’s “See Why I Love You?” is a wonderful performance by Nemeth with another tenor solo from Edmaiston. Nemeth’s “Lonesome and High” includes the lyric “and I’m looking for a friend”. While Franklin’s fabulous “Singin’ For My Supper” describes what Nemeth will do for the rest of his life as will each member; as they play for their supper.
The closer is Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” a 1977 hit single produced by Hi Records’ Willie Mitchell. The Love Light Orchestra’s version is re-arranged as a shuffle with another fabulous horn arrangement.
Esquire magazine describes Nemeth’s voice as “magnificent”. His emotive vocals are even more beautiful when accompanied by this five piece horn section. This ambitious undertaking is a huge success as performed by Nemeth and The Love Light Orchestra. The ten members inspire each other and Nemeth has never sounded better. This is a must to own as it just might be the “Album of The Year”.
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