Since he worked with his late father, Luther Allison, on There's Gonna Be a Live One Here Tonight! at a tender age, Bernard Allison has developed into a guitarist that closely follows his father's lead; playing what he likes the sound of, regardless of the musical style it represents or how his own musical style has been categorized. Bernard's latest recording for Tone Cool Records, Storms of Life, continues to portray Bernard as a guitar virtuoso and a chamaeleon of musical style. With each new recording, it seems like Bernard sounds more and more like his father both on guitar and vocally and, personally, that's not a bad thing at all.
Storms of Life opens with 1 minute and 42 seconds of high powered solo slide guitar in a song called "Slip Slidin'." "Slip Slidin'" one of only two original songs on the thirteen song CD. The other original "Speed Slide," is another blazing slide instrumental in a George Thorogood style with a Bo Diddley beat. Following my previous comments on Bernard's sounding more and more like his father, he also performs two classics originally written by his famous father, Luther. On "Down South," Bernard puts his father's sound on in a big way, right down to Luther's characteristic vocal vibrato. Bernard gives more of the same on Luther's "Reaching Out," with a friendlier R+B sound, demonstrating another dimension to his style, again venturing into other styles as his father did before him. The song also includes a cool sax solo by David Eiland.
Once Storms of Life departs from the father-son penned material, Bernard successfully moves in several different musical directions. The title track, "Storms of Life," is a slow groove tune that Bernard offers with a smooth, clean style. "Just Do Me Any Way You Want" written by Rico McFarland has sort of a reggae, funk feel. This is followed by Mark Knopfler's "I Think I Love You Too Much," a song that holds the same feel of any number of Knopfler's Dire Straits or solo recordings. Bernard moves into the harder edged blues, blues rock vein with songs like Johnny Winter's "Mean Town Blues," performed with the same frenzy as the original and at a sonic pace. Also in the blues-rock vein is "I Wanna Drive You Home," a ZZ Top song that Bernard puts his stamp on with a lower key, harmonica laden version of the original.
As the CD continues, Bernard provides some power laden guitar on an Anders Osborne tune called "Snake Bit Again." Guitar pyrotechnics continues on the heavy "Fistful of Dirt" with a loping shuffle beat. Allison provides a powerful slow blues with "Help Me Through The Day," that includes a signature piano riff that gives away its composer, Leon Russell. Storms of Life concludes with a song called "Goodbye Little Girl" a horn-laden finale with a crisp Bernard Allison signature guitar break and a fine harp solo by Richard Rosenblatt.
Storms of Life continues Bernard Allison's travels along the highways and byways of his musical career. As he has on past recordings, Bernard continues to prove himself to be a versatile and talented guitarist, who's fame continues to grow in the national and international blues communities. To pick up a copy of Storms of Life, visit the Tone Cool Records website at www.tonecool.com or Bernard's website at www.bernardallison.com where a recent offer indicated that early orders would receive an autographed copy of the CD. With an offer like that, how can anyone refuse the opportunity to pick up a copy?
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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