Afrobilly Soul Stew is Home Cookin's follow-up recording to their 1997 debut CD, the self-titled, Home Cookin. Featuring vocalist Brenda Boykin and guitarist Anthony Paule, this San Francisco-based roots band serves up an entertaining combination of roots rock, rockabilly, R + B and blues; mixed with a taste of swing, country and gospel.
If the songs on Afrobilly Soul Stew are sometimes reminiscent of another eminent Bay Area combo, the Johnny Nocturne Band, it is because Boykin and Paule spent eight years working together in the Nocturne Band. While Boykin has since left that group, Paule continues to perform with The Johnny Nocturne Band on lead guitar. Home Cookin' drummer Tyler Eng and bassist Tim Wagar offer impressive resumes as well, having worked with the likes of Charlie Musselwhite, Taj Mahal, LaVern Baker and Elvin Bishop. Filling out the line-up for the musical meal are Jim Pugh on keyboards and Charles McNeal on saxophone.
Eight of the fourteen songs on Afrobilly Soul Stew are originals penned by Brenda Boykin. The remaining six songs are exceptional covers of some classic tunes, including the Righteous Brothers' standard, "Cryin Time," "Tee Ni Nee Ni Nu," a Slim Harpo staple, and "Chains," written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Among the originals, the opener, "Five O'Clock Blues," "Brown
Sugar Baby" and the zydeco- influenced "Zydeco Gumbo," are most notable. Boykin's vocals are always emotion-filled and convey the feeling of each song along with the message in her lyrics. Paule's guitar licks are always well placed and guest saxman, Charles McNeal, offers timely solos on "Brown Sugar Baby" and "Backbreaker."
If you like your musical stew soulful and filling, Afrobilly Soul Stew will definitely
satisfy your appetite. To get your own "can" of Afrobilly Soul Stew by Home Cookin', contact Blue Dot Records at (415) 665-3091. Afrobilly Soul Stew is also available online from most major music "e-tailers."
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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