Sam Cockrell and the Groove's debut, "I'm In The Business," was well received when it came out in 1999. Although it has taken a while to get around to releasing a new recording, "Colorblind" shows that it has been worth the wait. In the interim the band have been gigging beyond their Chicago home, picking up second slot in the 2000 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The new album was partly recorded in Memphis, with the help of the legendary Memphis Horns.
The Memphis Horns announce their presence right from the opening bars of
"Let Me Love You." They add punch to the proceedings, contrasting their soulful sound with the rock-oriented guitar sound of Chris Forte. Cockrell's voice has previously been compared to Robert Cray and a glimpse at the track listing suggests that he is exploiting this on the second track ("Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"). It is, however, a Cockrell original, as are all the tracks here.
Most of the albums more soulful (and best) moments come when the Memphis
Horns appear (seven of the fourteen tracks). Cockrell's talent as a writer of great soul tunes is in evidence of on "Sugar Pie" where the horns really swing out, and the classic soul of "When It Comes to Love." "Colorblind" is not a soul album, however, and Cockrell shows himself eminently capable of penning a wide range of material, such as the more rock-oriented "Life" (which features Ronnie Baker Brooks), or straight blues ("When We're Together," featuring Joanna Connor).
He also gets a little funkier on "Baby You Know I Love You" with some nicely jagged guitar from Chico Banks, and "I Don't Want You Hanging Around" with its neat Ernie Isley style guitar courtesy of Chris Forte.
"Colorblind" is a fine album which builds on the foundation that Sam Cockrell and the Groove laid on "I'm In The Business." The diverse mix of styles (soul/blues/rock/funk) does not detract from the album's coherence, which is largely a testament to the quality of the band. A tight outfit that sound even better with a horn section, it all adds up to an album well worth tracking down (starting with the band's web site: www.samcockrell.com).
Click on the CD cover to buy this album.
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