Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Pop
Kenny Neal is such a terrific singer that he can make any kind of blues sound good. On Hoodoo Moon, Neal does the Delta blues justice on a version of Elmore James's "It Hurts Me Too," and does a fine job on the Chicago blu... more »
Kenny Neal is such a terrific singer that he can make any kind of blues sound good. On Hoodoo Moon, Neal does the Delta blues justice on a version of Elmore James's "It Hurts Me Too," and does a fine job on the Chicago blues with "I'm a Blues Man." He even pulls off some James Brown funk on "Just One Step." Nonetheless, Neal makes his most valuable contributions when he allows his Louisiana roots to show. On "Don't Fix Our Love," for example, Neal lays his blues-harmonica solo and gravelly vocal over a New Orleans second-line parade rhythm. Lucky Peterson plays the Professor Longhair-like piano part expertly and does the same with the Fats Domino-like piano triplets on "Why Should I Stay." "The Real Thing" and the album's title track boast the slippery shuffle beat of upstate Louisiana's swamp blues. As the son of Raful Neal and the former protégé of Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester, Neal is the legitimate heir of this tradition and he plays it beautifully. These four Louisiana-influenced songs are the highlights of Hoodoo Moon. Neal is a tremendously talented young man--excelling as a guitarist as well as a singer and harmonica player--but lots of talented young men are plowing the overworked ground of Chicago, Memphis, and Delta blues. Neal would be better off leaving those crowded fields alone and concentrating on his inspired swamp-blues inventions. --Geoffrey Himes
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Quite simply one of the finest blues records of the 90s
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 06/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Equally adept at playing gritty acoustic country blues and soulful horn-laden R&B, Raful Neal's son Kenny is perhaps the greatest bluesman of his generation.
This 1994 album is his very best, a strong, varied collection which finds Neal in top form. His songwriting has never been better, and he plays some of the best, grittiest harmonica of his career on songs like "The Real Thing", "Hoodoo Moon" and "Don't Fix Our Love".
The band includes drummer Ken Johnson, Kenny's brother Noel Neal on bass, and keyboardist Lucky Peterson, and the grooves on "Hoodoo Moon" are deeper than ever before.
The smoky title track is one of the finest blues songs of the 90s, and "Why Should I Stay", "The Real Thing", and the swaggering "Don't Fix Our Love" are no less impressive. Kenny Neal plays smouldering lead guitar on the slow soulful numbers "Carrying The Torch" and "If Heartaches Were Nickles", and his husky voice has evolved into a powerful and wonderfully nuanced instrument.
There really isn't a single clunker among these 12 songs, and "Hoodoo Moon" would make a perfect introduction for newcomers. It is actually better than Kenny Neal's Alligator compilation "Deluxe Edition"."
What a Blues Talent!
Joe Bucher | Eagle River, Wisconsin | 02/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Found out about Kenny Neal fairly recently, but have enjoyed this guy's stuff so much, I've eagerly purchased everything I could get my hands on. He's got it all --- the voice, the guitar, the harp, and the rare ability to make it all work well all the time. If you've never heard Kenny Neal before, the first thing that grabs you is his voice. After that it's just his consistent style of doing -- whatever style of blues he chooses to do -- very well. This CD has some unique tunes that pay homage to blues greats of the past, while cementing Kenny Neal's own sound and style. "Carry The Torch" and "I'm A Blues Man" are two such tunes. Great, if for no other reason, they tell a story and establish respect for his blues roots.His guitar style is crisp, clean, and over the top. Not mushy and over-produced. His harp is also crisp, clean and easy-to-listen-to from song after song. In my opinion, most blues harp players are overrated and sloppy. Not, Kenny Neal. His harp expressions and the rhythms don't clash; leaving you with an almost surprised reaction -- wanting more. I'd listen to this guy play blues harp for hours; not a norm for me being one with a "quick hook" for blues harp players.This guy needs to get out of New Orleans and tour the midwest along with the rest of the U.S. We're all anxious to see Kenny Neal perform. Also anxious for a new CD, now that I've heard his past work."
Very Good Stuff!
deepbluereview | SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA USA | 12/27/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hoodoo Man is Neal's fifth release on Alligator records and marks the end of his relationship with the gator before switching to Telarc. Some artist's nearing the end of their contract merely go through the motions, exerting enough energy to complete the project before moving on to greener pastures. Fortunately, Neal did not take that tack and, instead, released his best effort through 1995, if not to date. The CD opens with the powerful interpretation of, "I'm A Bluesman" and ends on an equally high note with "It Hurts Me Too". In between these anchor tunes are smatterings of classic styles intertwined with contemporary tunes. "Carrying The Torch" is a slow number in which Neal sings about the blues blood running through his veins and his job of, well, carrying the blues torch. Also worth mentioning is Neal's song "Money Don't Make The Man" about kids in the ghetto raised in poverty and killing for a pair of Reeboks. This is one gifted guitarist, harmonica player and songwriter and this is one of his best."