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June 2015

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Tad Robinson
Day Into Night
Severn Records

Tad Robinson

Tad Robinson is one of the finest soul/blues vocalists currently practicing, as heard on his previous releases for Delmark and Severn Records, all of which have deftly combined Chicago blues with Memphis soul. Robinson’s sixth and latest release (fourth for Severn), Day Into Night, follows that same trend with Robinson collaborating once again with the vaunted Severn house band (Johnny Moeller – guitar, Kevin Anker – keyboards, Steve Gomes – bass, Robb Stupka – drums), along with guest appearances from Texas guitar legend Anson Funderburgh and longtime musical associate, guitarist Alex Schultz. The result is 12 tracks of soul/blues heaven.

Most of the tracks were written by Gomes, Anker, and/or Robinson, and the trio has the classic soul sounds of the past few decades down, both musically and lyrically, beginning with the majestic opener, “Soul Lover,” and moving into the fine and mellow “Call Me,” a track so good that it’s presented in two versions …. the first a greasy keyboard-driven variation (courtesy of Anker and organist Bernie Porecki), then as a horn-fueled closer. Funderburgh’s stinging guitar punctuates “Lonely Talking,” the purest blues track on the disc, and Robinson does an excellent job on the album’s lone cover, the Bobby “Blue” Bland classic “Lead Me On,” kicked up a notch or two from the original version with a great guitar break from Moeller.

Soul fans will dig “Mellow In Love” “Love Is A Winner,” and “Blue Yesterday,” all of which would have fit like a glove back in the glory days of ’70s soul/R&B. Robinson breaks out his harmonica on the funky “While You Were Gone,” and Schultz adds some tasty guitar to the soulful “Nightwatch.” “Need Some Better” showcases Anker’s keyboards and some great testifying vocals from Robinson.

There can’t be enough said about the contributions of the Severn house band. These guys have this sound down so down pat that you’ll have goose bumps while listening. There’s also a rock solid horn section on many of the tracks (Kenny Rittenhouse – trumpet/arrangements, Liesl Whitaker – trumpet, Antonio Orta – tenor sax, Bill Holmes – trombone), along with fine backing vocals from Caleb Green and Christal Rheams, and percussion from Mark Merella.

Anybody who says that old school soul music is a thing of the past will eat their words upon hearing Tad Robinson’s latest. Day Into Night is wonderful late-night soul music that will prove the genre is alive and well.

--- Graham Clarke
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