Nulisch, who first came to prominence in the blues world as the original singer with Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, has been leaning more heavily to a soul/blues mix on his last two albums. The Whole Truth is a tasty collection of a dozen tunes showcasing Nulisch's rich vocals and an extremely tight Texas blues band.
The album opens with the deep Southern soul sound of "Leaving On The Morning Train," on which the singer sounds as soulful as Otis Clay. This number is highlighted by an excellent keyboard break by Benjie Porecki.
The latter performer is the unsung hero of this CD, as he gives the slow, swampy ballad "There It Is Again" an old-time gospel feel with his churchy organ interludes. Then Porecki switches over to piano to swap bluesy leads with guitarist Jon Moeller on the instrumental "At-Cha-Mama-Nims." Nulisch also gets the opportunity to blow a little blues harp on this song.
Moeller is the hero of the slow blues "Telephone Blues," playing some hot Texas licks behind Nulisch's pleading vocals. Still only in his 20s, Moeller is a young cat who deserves a lot more notoriety in the blues world.
"Like Reed" presents the band in a much simpler style, as the horn section and keyboard takes a break while Nulisch and Moeller perform a little tribute to Jimmy Reed. Darrell has Reed's harmonica style down just right. Then everyone gets funky again on "Love Me Like You Mean It," an uptempo song which sounds very much like the kind of tune Earl King would cover.
Nulisch, who recorded one of the great vocal tracks of the 80s when he cut "Ships Passing In The Night" as a member of Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, does similarly emotionally-charged vocal work on the slow loungy blues number "There's A Sad Story Here." Equally effective is his singing combined with Moeller's driving guitar riffs on the blues shuffle "Wait For Me."
This wonderful CD closes with "Lyla Tov (Good Night)," a mid-tempo jazzy instrumental, which again features nice piano playing by Porecki.
Severn Records' slogan is "Roots Music For The 21st Century." With artists like Nulisch and Maher on their roster, the Severn folks certainly going to make the new millennium a much more pleasant place.
- Bill Mitchell
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