AJ Crawdaddy – Steppin’ Out!
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AJ Crawdaddy – – Steppin 'out!

Cave records


11 tracks – 50 minutes

Guitarist Angelo Rossi, also known as AJ Crawdaddy, continues his exploration of the blues music genre with his third solo album. He got a three year glimpse into the limelight in the early 1980s when he joined the hit pop group Pablo Cruise. After a long hiatus, Crawdaddy returned to the music business in 2015 with his independent release Vaporized.

For his latest project, he joined a long list of artists who hired the brilliant Kid Andersen and his Greaseland Studios to bring their musical vision to life. In addition to recording and producing the album, Andersen also plays guitar, bass, Hammond B3 organ and Wurlitzer piano. Crawdaddy can be seen both on guitar and on four cuts as lead vocal.

Several members of the backing band have appeared on all three of Cradaddy's recent releases – Baxter Robertson on piano and vocals, Jim Dewrance on vocals and harmonica, Greg Jones on bass, and Peter Booras on drums. June Core and Donnie Green also contribute to the drums. In the horn section, the returnees Michael Peloquin on tenor saxophone and Marcel Marchetti on trumpet, Doug Rowan on baritone saxophone and Mike Rinta on trombone.

At the start, guest singer Marcel Smith gives "Big Hurt" a deep, soulful sound, his sad screams are answered by Crawdaddy's cutting guitar licks. Smith appears again closer to "Rain Of Tears", one of three songs taken from the Vaporized recording. He draws listeners once again, his extraordinary voice gives them a palpable feeling for the sadness and sorrow depicted in the texts. Lisa Leuschner Andersen helps with the backing of vocals. John Blues Boyd takes the audience out into the alley for a slow blues from B. B. King, "Ten Long Years". His raw vocals match the intensity of the curved notes Crawdaddy evokes from his guitar.

"Steppin’ Out "is one of four tracks in which the leader takes the lead role and is in the spotlight with Andersen on the Hammond organ and another guest, Quique Gomez, blowing sweet harmonica accompaniment. The band rips through a cover of "Bony Moronie", Crawdaddy's voice which, in contrast to the wild sounds that surround him, exudes a sense of calm. "Mean Man" has many six string fireworks wrapped around a beefy Peloquin tenor solo. Little Milton fans will realize that "this is what love will do". Crawdaddy may not have Milton's vocal skills, but the arrangement brings out the best of his vocal style.

The process shifts gears on a cover of Frank Frost's "My Back Scratcher" with Dewrance on vocals and harmonica. The band creates a creeping, stomach-rubbing groove that is reminiscent of the Slim Harpo sound. Dewrance can also be seen in Country Girl (Home At Last), a tight Chicago-style shuffle in which Robert Welsh sets the mood with his usual good piano playing. Robertson gives Johnny Taylor's "Need Another Favor" a solid read, while Crawdaddy takes time for his solo segment and makes some references to the B.B. King style is incorporated.

Marty Gunther, senior writer on Blues Blast, found a lot to like in Slow Cookin, Crawdaddy's earlier publication. The guitarist keeps the series going and puts together another strong offering that revolves around his concise fretwork. Andersen brings all of the pieces together again to make each song into a delightful blend that allows listeners to appreciate each and every contribution.

It sure sounds like everyone had a lot of fun recording this project. You owe it to yourself to try it out!

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