Long revered by fellow Texas musicians, Robert Ealey, known as the King of Fort Worth blues, is finally getting the national recognition due him. It's about time. While small in stature, Ealey possesses a powerful "blues shouter" voice, combining nicely with a novel and truly original songwriting style.
I Like Music When I Party was released earlier this summer prior to Black Top's recent distribution problems. Now that the New Orleans label has aligned itself with Alligator Records, this CD and three other albums will be re-released later this month.
The first cut begins with a live introduction from Lou Ann Barton, after which Ealey launches into the ribald dance number "Shake Your Butt." His voice especially booms out on "See About Me" and "Too Many Ways."
Guitarist and longtime sideman Tone Sommer gets to show his stuff on the slow blues "Is Your Bathroom Clean."
The best song on Ealey's previous Black Top album was one on which he partially sang in Spanish. He continues the international flavor here with the calypso-sounding "Christena." To add just a little more spice, Ealey does a fine harmonica imitation with his voice on the Elmore James-style "Elloise," trading riffs with the real harp player Hash Brown.
Robert Ealey is truly a unique bluesman whose time has finally come. I Like Music When I Party is a worthwhile addition to his much too limited discography.
- Bill Mitchell
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