It came as something of a shock to hear that former Storyville vocalist Malford Milligan -voted Best Male Vocalist of the Decade by his native Austin press - has all but returned to his previous existence as a session vocalist.
Everyone has to move on in life, and whilst with the acclaimed blues rockers Storyville, Malford seemed to have found the perfect contemporary context for his peerless expressive voice as well as a home for his song writing. And with a musical history that includes over 30 albums to his credit, Malford should really be in the position to tackle something more interesting than this well played assemblage soul and blues covers.
Yes of course Malford takes several of the songs and makes them his own, and he even turns a period Otis Redding ballad These Arms of Mine into something more personal. On, Blow Wind Blow he seems to actually revel in the big band arrangement, but this is quickly followed by a very pedestrian horn led, Today I Started Loving You Again.
Unfortunately, the opening cover of Freddie Kingís Palace of the King immediately suggests there hasnít been much imaginative thought gone into the material, as every credible working blues artist I know has covered this song, and thereís very little to add to a straight forward arrangement. Significantly perhaps Malford sounds more comfortable on the self penned, stripped down, small combo number Ainít Nobody, and he belatedly rocks out on Stingy, completely with snappily arranged horns.
But then itís back to a badly chosen covers with a passable stab at The Carsí Drive, a closing number that all but encompasses the feeling that heís been badly advised on the material album.
For the rest this is an album that might have better suited the likes of Delbert McLinton who has often crossed over from blues to soul, but Malford Milligan surely has more to give than this lack lustre effort.