I admit, I have waited for this CD with great impatience. After witnessing two of Ronnie Baker Brooks' shows at the last two Chicago Blues Festivals I knew it would be something coming up to my expectations, something leading RBB to the very top.
Take Me Witcha is this kind of record!
RBB created it (he penned all songs) according to old Hitchcock's rule: "Start with an earthquake and go on with something stronger." "I Had My Chance" is an earthquake. After a Hendrix - style intro the rhythm section imposes pulsation and power that is felt throughout the entire album. Concise but full of energy bass line and nuclear drums present unusual in blues bands colors and moods, and the leader makes the most of his chances. His guitar weeps, shoots, sings and talks. After such opening you could hardly expect more excitement, but it was really only a beginning. In "Hit Me On The Hip" the tempo accelerates even more and juicy background vocals win extra points for the first but not last on this album time. Ronnie both as a guitar player and as a vocalist comes close to what Luther Allison, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan achieved.
"See You Hurt No More" is a ballad reminiscing Sam Cooke or Otis Redding. Ronnie sings it with equal expression, even multiplied by Stefanie Bolton piercing voice. I was looking forward to Take Me Witcha because in concert Ronnie came down and joined the audience who were singing along with him. The recording is as attractive as the live version. "Do You Love Me Baby" became a hit song with brass riffs winding up the spirits and catchy lyrics.
There are a few classic blues on the album in which RBB builds the atmosphere up to the skies with his solos (It Takes A Smart Man To Play Dumb, Time Will Tell, Drama Queen). It makes no difference if the blues are modern of straight. In "Flavor Of The Week" with DeBeossi he seasons his music with funky rap and in "Give Me Your Heart" he pays tribute to one of his favorites - B.B. King playing solos as if he had the "Lucille" in his hands. In "Pick Powder" we can't help remembering Freddie King. The CD comes to an end with a song in which Ronnie's father takes over the mike.
A beautiful album, we are certain to find it high in our next year's poll and we can experience the music life even sooner - RBB is giving two shows in Poland this May.
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