Information about Dan Reading seems fairly hard to come by. Although his latest album, "Acoustic Soup" was recorded in Waldorf, MD, it appears that he currently resides in North Carolina. The album reflects Reading's penchant for listening to all kinds of music, with shades of soul, funk and pop being the most readily identifiable influences.
The album opens with a cover of ZZ Hill's "I'm A Blues Man." The combination of Reading's guitar and Ronnie Smith's fine work on keyboards add a nicely understated funky New Orleans flavor to the tune. Reading has a pretty good voice too, not quite, but almost blue eyed soul. The funky theme is maintained for the cover of Tone Loc's "Wild Thing."
"Uncle," the first of three originals, opens with some simple acoustic chording from Reading. When the band join in, there's an almost pop/soul groove to the tune. The immediate comparison that came to mind was early Wet Wet Wet, then Paul Weller (in one of his more soulful moods), and finally Train. The song reappears as an acoustic version, which is pretty much the same, only the band never jump in.
The "BB King Medley" combines three songs closely associated with the great man: "Every Day I Have The Blues," "Rock Me Baby," and "The Thrill Is Gone." Rather than try to copy King's style and arrangements, though, Reading puts his own slant on the tunes, in a style reminiscent of the highly rated Aussie blues guitarist Geoff Achison.
Reading and Smith slip back into funky mode for "12 Ounce Curls" a paean to the various schemes for dieting and working out. The album then closes out nicely with Reading back in Paul Wellerish mode, for "Lonely Life (Acoustic Mix)"
"Acoustic Soup" is pretty solid stuff (no pun intended!). Clocking in at a shade over 30 minutes (including two versions of "Uncle") it will be considered by many as half an album, rather than a full album. There is nothing particularly outstanding about "Acoustic Soup," but nothing particularly bad about it either. What there is, however, is well played
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