Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars
Fifty Shades of Blue
Delta Groove Records
Geraci’s exquisite piano work has
been spotlighted in the past with Sugar Ray & The
Bluenotes and with Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters.
As impressive as those gigs were, nothing prepared
me for this album from Anthony Geraci and the
Boston Blues All-Stars.
Fifty Shades of Blue (Delta
Groove) is just an amazing disc. That he has
employed the likes of Sugar Ray Norcia, Darrell
Nulisch, Toni Lynn Washington, and the criminally
under-heard Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson points to
the esteem in which he is held by vocalists. One
imagines that they were clamoring to get on this
date. Even though the billing is Boston, there’s a
lot of Rhode Island going on here. Either way, must
be something in the water.
To a person, they’re enormously
talented and steeped in straight ahead and
swing-based blues. On the opening "Everything I Do
Is Wrong," Nulisch vocalizes, Monster Mike Welch
plays beautiful guitar, Marty Richards catapults
with his drums, Mudcat Ward anchors it on bass, and
Geraci comps brilliantly. The following take on the
title number is the standout cut on the disc. Norcia
and Willson trade licks and Geraci tears it up on
the piano, rocking and swinging.
"Heard That Tutwiler Whistle Blow,"
with Norcia on lead vocals, tells the story of
getting away from the dangerous South to the promise
of Mr. Ford’s Detroit. Norcia’s harp is full and
sensual. The vocalists bring excitement to the disc,
The two instrumentals give Geraci
room to stretch out. "Blues For David Maxwell" pays
tribute to the piano great who passed earlier this
year. The addition of a Native American flute from
Norcia gives it an airy quality. Geraci plays fat
chords and beautiful single note runs. Gorgeous. On
"In The Quicksand Again," he trades licks with Welch
on a medium tempo jam that impresses.
This is one of the most enjoyable
recordings of the year.
--- Mark E. Gallo