Sunday, 20 January 2008

CD Review - Craig King


If you have any feelings for classic soul-blues, Craig King’s debut CD could be one of the better albums you’ve run across in years.

King’s impassioned vocals make him sound like Robert Cray before he lost his way, only grittier. King is backed by a fine horn section, with killer guitar, sizzling organ and a good chorus of back-up singers.

The thing here is the funky beat. There’s a bit of ‘Superstition’-era Stevie Wonder here, a bit of Stax there. There’s the obvious mix of faster songs and slower ballads.

Best not to concentrate on the words; they can detract from the fun. (In ‘It's On The Inside’, the message is that you should judge a person by what’s on the inside – duh.)

It’s hard to find much information about King. A web search yields the facts that he’s from Pittsburgh and he ‘fell in love with music at a young age.’

But King is not the real issue. In the notes, he thanks Mike Sweeney and Jeff Ingersoll for the call. Ingersoll, guess what, is the owner of Bonedog Records, and Sweeney often writes songs for Bonedog. He wrote 9 of the 12 songs on this CD.

They were looking for a singer and they rang up Craig. This is essentially a factory production.

So? Motown and Stax were factories, too. Some of the best in history have been in-house songwriters.

Bonedog’s web site says it “was created to help artists who were pioneers of 40's 50's, 60's and 70's and contemporary artists who embrace these roots.” Whatever. This is great stuff.

You might want to buy this CD and wait eagerly for King’s sophomore effort. But from the sound of it, go for more Bonedog CDs. They've got something going on at that shop. Check ’em out.

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