Darrell Nulisch, former front man for Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets, is continuing his journey into soul-blues with his debut release on Severn Records. When Darrell gracefully bowed out of the Rockets to make way for Mr. Sam Myers he left his native Dallas and joined Ronnie Earl's Broadcaster's. Later he moved back home, started his own band -- Texas Heat -- and hit the road. In the last 15 years Darrell's work has shown up on several Blacktop releases. People lucky enough to hear this material know that Darrell has a world weary voice, great control and fluidity on the harp, and a top-flight band.
In 1994, Darrell released a solo record called "bluesoul." This critically acclaimed but hard-to-find CD featured Darrell in front of a horn band sans harmonicas and singing his heart out. The Whole Truth is an extension of that work, but this time Darrell brings his harps back into the studio.
This record, however, is not about harmonica pyrotechnics; it's about songs. In his own quiet way, Darrell Nulisch has developed into one of the best story-tellers in Blues Land. Here Darrell cooks up a mean pot of Memphis Soul Stew and spices it up with some Jimmy Reed and Sonny Boy II. The fire is provided by Benjie Porecki on organ and the skin-tight DC Horns. Darrell wears his influences on his sleeve (Otis Redding and Clay vocally; and Reed, Williamson, and Slim Harpo on the harp), but he infuses the whole record with his own personal stamp. His songs are about men and women, life on the road, and the subtle joy of being alive and doing what you want. The whole record has a positive spin that is especially apparent on "Stop Thinking Take" (Send down more understanding, each night I pray/Teach your children love for the entire human race/It's time start thinking give, and stop thinking take).
If you dig song writing and value vocals, this is a must-have for your CD collection. With "The Whole Truth" Darrell Nulisch joins the ranks of James Harman, Rick Estrin, and Tad Robinson. These four guys put good taste before virtuosity and tell great stories. I hope there's more of this stuff in the future.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ryan Reardon, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.