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July 2001

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Theryl "Houseman" de'Clouet
The Houseman Cometh

Theryl de-ClouetBlues fans may not be familiar with the name Theryl "Houseman" de'Clouet, who is the lead singer of the New Orleans funk band, Galactic. That shouldn't prevent them from checking out his solo disc from Bullseye (from their Funk & Soul division), The Houseman Cometh

The Houseman is an excellent singer, sort of a Luther Vandross with rough edges. He gets quite a workout on this CD, which features equal helpings of funk, soul, blues, jazz, and even hip-hop. de'Clouet tackles two soul numbers from Dan Penn ("Where You Gettin' It?," done by Penn on his recent CD and the metaphorical "Battlin" the Blues"), and delivers a emotional performance on one of the disc's many highlights, Al Kooper's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." 

He delves into the blues with "Pocket Change" (with Henry Butler on piano), Lonnie Mack's "Tough on Me, Tough on You," and the acoustic closer, "If That's What It Takes." The track "Two Wrongs" sounds like it could have been an R&B hit in the early 80s. 

However, he never drifts too far from the funk. The opening track, "You Came," the protest song, "Ain't No Yachts In the Ghetto" (probably one of the most danceable protest numbers in recent memory), and "I Get Lifted" (written by one Harry Casey, A.K.A. KC of KC and the Sunshine Band) are all solid funk workouts that will get you on your feet. 

The musicians are also a diverse lot, ranging from Butler and former Paul McCartney & Wings alum Thaddeus Richard on keyboards, to the rhythm section of the late Michael Ward's band Reward, whom de'Clouet served as frontman in the early 90s (Ward makes several appearances on percussion via sampling), and most of Galactic on a couple of numbers. 

As you've probably guessed by now, this is a very diverse recording that covers a lot of bases. Fans of traditional blues (not to mention the Houseman's fans from his Galactic albums) may be a little disappointed, but this is a talented singer who, like many New Orleans vocalists, is comfortable in more than one genre. Soul/blues fans should definitely give this one a spin.

--- Graham Clarke

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