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Energized - Live In Europe
(2006 - Ruf Records)
Review Date: December 2008
by Robert T. Murphy
"Energized" is a matching Double CD to Bernard Allison's DVD release which showcases Bernard Allison's live show from Gottingen Germany, on the 20th of October, 2005. As such, it is an excellent introduction to the son of Luther Allison. Bernard learn his craft from his late father and based upon this CD (and live shows I have seen) he payed attention. Bernard is not an over the top player, ala Stevie Ray Vaughan, but a solid showman who knows exactly what level of excitement to bring to the table at each point of the show. This CD appears to be the complete show from that night as it covers two CD's and one hour and forty two minutes of music, which is a bargain, particularly considering the quality of the recording. The sound mix is better than most live CD's with instruments sounding really clear, with vocals clearly defined and no muddiness from the bass or drums. Seven of the 16 tracks were either written or co-written by Bernard Allison, and four tracks written by Luther Alli
son are included. The band is tight and sound like they listen to each other, as none of the backing band overpowers the show. Keyboards have a tendency to overpower a band (in general) and that doesn't happen here.
As far as tracks, The CD set opens up with an instrumental 'Another Ride To The City', a rockin' funky guitar based song, which is followed up by 'It's A Man Down There' which is a shuffle that has a real swing to it, similar to the Allman Brothers 'One Way Out' but with more soul and swing. This is followed by a 13 minute plus version of Luther Allison's 'Bad Love', which has great dynamics, with the keyboards throwing in horns where appropriate. The first Cd ends with 'The Way Love Was Meant To Be' which leans towards ballad material. CD Two opens up with three instrumentals, 'The Walk', 'Step Down' and 'Talking Guitar'. 'The Walk' provides some Bo-Diddly style slide guitar before getting down to some fast slide pickin. 'Step Down' is a short interlude of gospel licks before leading into some funky guitar which includes 'Saints Come Marching In' and Bernard's talking guitar routine where he carries on a conversation using his guitar to great effect. 'A Change Must Come' is to Ber
nard Allison as 'Texas Flood' is to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The last song on the CD is 'I Just Came Back To Say Goodbye' which closes out the show on a rockin blues note.
Bottom Line: A wide ranging musical selection, with some funky blues, enough swing to be cool, great guitar playing, good backing musicians, and an excellent example of what Bernard Allison sounds like. If you like Bernard Allison already, and haven't bought this, you should go out and get it immediately. If you aren't familiar with Bernard Allison, this CD set provides an accurate example of what he sounds like and would be a great place to start your collection. I give it four stars out of five.
Guitar and vocals - Bernard Allison
Keyboards - Mike Vlahakis
Bass - Jassen Wilber
Drums - Andrew Thomas
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