"Two Timing Lover Boy" is the debut album from singer/keyboard player Dino Baptiste, and shows why he is so highly regarded by the British blues press. The album fuses together elements of pounding rock'n'roll piano (Jerry Lee Lewis style) with soul (Ray Charles) and New Orleans funk to yield a contemporary sound. All of the songs on the album are originals, each of which is delivered with a refreshing level of energy and enthusiasm.
Everything Baptiste does is by ear, because he was too impatient to learn the theory of music. After listening to the way "I'm a Boogie Man" opens the album, you will be left in no doubt that his ears are in perfect working order. He dives straight in with some boogie woogie piano to get the circulation going, which precedes the arrival of the horns when things really get swinging.
Before you can make a note to file this one under boogie woogie, the next track ("Baby Let Me Funk Your Blues") takes you down to New Orleans. Things remain way down yonder for "Whole Lotta Lovin'" where the piano playing reflects the influence of Fess. Then it is time to move on with "Love Don't Live Here Anymore." It is a tune which straddles the point where Mose Allison meets Ray Charles, and includes some nice B.B. King style guitar from co-writer Matt Schofield.
The musical journey gently meanders back and forth through funk and boogie woogie and many points in between, before nodding towards Prince ("Ask Me To Explain") on the penultimate track. The proceedings are then closed out by "Silver Haired Lady," which just pips the title track for best tune on the album. It is an instrumental that has Baptiste very much to the fore on piano. From start to finish he never lets up, and even if you do not appreciate good piano playing, you cannot fail to be impressed by his stamina!
"Two Timing Lover Boy" is an impressive album which should help to cement Dino Baptiste's position among the best of the current crop of British blues keyboard players. It will appeal greatly to those with a more catholic taste, who appreciate the funkier side of the Neville Brothers, as well as straighter blues. In addition the contemporary feel should help to win Baptiste fans among the younger generation too. Well worth investigating.
Dino Baptiste: http://members.aol.com/dinoboogie/
This review is copyright © 2000 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.