A Part Of Me
has been on the blues scene, mostly in the
Washington, D.C. area, since the 1970s. He's been
both a bandleader and a record label owner, and his
newest CD, A Part Of Me, is released on his
own Powerhouse Records. It's the first CD he's
released with all original music, and for this
joyous ride he's rounded up some of the best backing
musicians in the D.C. area as well as several
Principato kicks off A Part Of Me
with the rockin' number "Don't Wanna Do It," given a swampy feel to it
by Louisianan native Sonny Landreth's slide guitar and keyboards from
former Allman Brother Chuck Leavell.
"Sweet Angel" is one of my favorite
cuts on the disc, as Principato starts off with a funky guitar intro
before launching into a homage to his own sweet angel. Leavell's B-3
accompaniment adds a nice touch to this feelgood number. The title cut,
a slow blues ballad just dripping with emotion, follows and is
highlighted by Principato's blues guitar licks and killer horn work from
none other than Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns.
Principato takes the listener "Down
The Road" with a funky, jazzy instrumental featuring killer keyboard
from guest Brian Auger and some innovative guitar picking by the boss of
the show. Laying down a solid rhythm is bassist Willie Weeks, a veteran
session player most recently associated with Eric Clapton. It's a six
and a half minute voyage that ends much too quickly.
Leavell is back to join in on "Down In
Lou'siana," which not surprisingly is given a New Orleans second line
beat through the rhythmic drumming of Joe Wells. The band turns jazzy
again for the sparse instrumental "Back Again & Gone," which primarily
features Principato's guitar backed only by a very subtle rhythm
section; the guitar work is sublime.
Gali Sanchez's congos gives the next
cut, the snaky and mysterious "Stranger's Eyes," kind of a Santana vibe
to this mid-tempo number. The album then ends with a variation of the
previous cut, called "Stranger's Eyes Pt. 2," in which the volume goes
up and Principato puts a little more oomph into the guitar solo. Unless
you're listening carefully, you won't notice that there really are two
separate cuts here.
This project was a personal trip down
memory lane for Principato, as the disc jacket is populated by numerous
family photos and other landmarks that were part of his childhood, as
well as what looks like every school photo every taken of him.
A Part Of Me is not by any
means a straight blues album. Principato is so talented and versatile
that he never confines himself to just one style, resulting in an album
that is a delightful blend of his diverse musical influences.
--- Bill Mitchell