Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
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3 1/2 stars. A good album, but not one of Son's best
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 04/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Bad Axe" is not Son Seals' best album...that would be "Midnight Son" or "Nothing But The Truth". But there is some really good stuff here, like the tough, mid-tempo grind of "Don't Pick Me For You Fool" and the funky, riff-driven "Can't Stand To See Her Cry", and the arrangements, clanging R&B piano and some ferocious guitar playing, are almost uniformly excellent.
The late, great Frank 'Son' Seals played searing, hard-edged lead guitar and sang his gritty blues and R&B in a huge, raw and throaty voice, backed by a sympathetic four-piece band (second guitar, bass, drums and keyboards). It's not all pure blues, but a mix of "genuine" blues, heavy blues-rock, R&B, and tough, funky soul, and while the production seems a little bit too glossy, Son Seals' vicious guitar usually manages to cut right through to the surface.
Still, the overall impression is a little bland. There are no bad songs here, excactly, but there are a little to few really great ones. The six-minute slow blues "I Can Count On My Blues" almost stalls completely, and a couple of these ten songs just kinda drift by without really being noticed. Take Son Seals' partly spoken rendition of Elmore James' "Person To Person". It lacks some the grit of the original, sure, but it's not bad...it's just not great, either, and that's a shame, 'cause Son Seals had the chops, as the above-mentioned albums amply prove.
The swaggering "Cold Blood" and Aaron 'Little Sonny' Willis' "Goin' Home" get the temperature rising, though, and if songs like "Out Of My Way" and "I Think You're Foolin' Me" come off sounding a bit generic, they still pack a pretty good punch, and Son Seals' playing on the latter cut is some of the album's most inspired. It's just a shame that there aren't a couple more really outstanding songs...
Anyway. If you're looking for your first Son Seals album, go for one of the above, or the excellent "Midnight Son". This one is definitely worth picking up along the way, but it probably shouldn't be your first purchase."
A very patchy album
Dr.D.Treharne | Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom | 04/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The playing on, and the content of,this album is very uneven. Tracks 1,2,3,4,7 & 8 were recorded with his roadband at the time. The others were recorded with a five piece that includes a keyboard player who pads out the sound ( Carl Snyder Jnr).The material is woefully varaiable."Don't pick me for your fool" gets the album off to a tight start but Seals' compositions are a weak link.The vocals are variable as well. They work well on the uptempo tracks, but the slow blues "I can count on my blues" is difficult to listen through, and not saved by the harmonica work of Billy Branch.Not the best place to pick up on the undoubted talents of Son Seals."