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March 1998

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Surprise

Frank Bey
Steppin' Out
MAG Records

Frank Bey - Steppin' OutI really must thank one of our regular Blues Bytes readers for his persistence in getting Frank Bey's new CD sent to me. The Philadelphia-based artist is quite a good singer, and Steppin' Out certainly deserves much wider distribution.

The Georgia native toured with the Otis Redding Review in the 1960s before heading his own bands based out of Montreal and Philadelphia. He was retired from the business for 19 years, only recently returning to performing around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A voice this wonderful should not have been silent for so long.

Bey owns a gritty, soulful voice, one that grows on you the longer you listen to him sing. He's backed by a tight, jazzy ensemble which complements rather than overpowers the vocals.

The better songs on Steppin' Out are what can best be described as catchy, hook-laden tunes, like the bluesy "Girl, I Want To Be With You" and the funkier "Cookie Jar."

Bey also excels with a straighter blues, "Brother Man Blues," which features nice slide guitar from Jeff Monjack.

Most of the songs on Steppin' Out are band originals, although Bey also does good covers of "Someone Else Is Steppin' In" and "Blues Medley" ("Why I Sing The Blues / Stormy Monday / Hey, Hey, The Blue's Alright").

Frank Bey's Steppin' Out might be a little hard to find, but it will be well worth the effort. If all else fails, contact MAG records via e-mail at MAGJORDEN@aol.com.

- Bill Mitchell

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