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January 1997

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Darrell Nulisch
Higher Plane

The name Darrell Nulisch should be familiar to most blues afficionados from his work with Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, Ronnie Earl, and his own band Texas Heat. The guy's made some decent recordings over the years. But what makes Bluesoul such a surprise hit is that it's out on the independent label Higher Plane Records, in addition to the real soulful sound that Nulisch has brought to his usual Texas blues.

Quite simply, Bluesoul is a gem, possibly the best that Nulisch has done. Nulisch's voice is in fine form, Jon Moeller contributes solid Texas blues guitar, and the horn arrangements are as tight as can be. Most of the songs on Bluesoul are originals co-written by Nulisch and bassist Steve Gomes.

Bluesoul starts off with three original numbers, "Crime of Passion," "Love Song," and "You Were Right," all bluesy soul tunes which could have been taken from the Tyrone Davis songbook. The horn section really gets a chance to shine.

Nulisch's voice gets a good workout on "I've Been Searching," in which he turns in his best performance since recording "Ships Passing In The Night" with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters.

The straightest blues here is "Worried," which nicely showcases Moeller's sharp guitar work. The same can be said about the slow blues "Going Back To Texas," an adaptation of Albert King's "Travelin' To California."

Nulisch takes Magic Sam's classic "What Have I Done Wrong?," speeds up the tempo, and adds a big horn sound. To top it off, Moeller throws in some hot guitar licks. Nice version.

Higher Plane Records is a new independent label based in Mesa, Arizona. Check in on their web site if you can't find Bluesoul in your local record store.

- Bill Mitchell

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