Any new Arthur Adams project is an immediate purchase in my world, and on its arrival today had five consecutive plays, upholding my faith furthermore. This scintillating ten-track CD is a wonderful ride through soul, blues and on a couple tracks a country feel comes through, and throughout those instantly recognisable fragile sounding vocals comfort your ears; it’s like an old friend has come to visit. Born on Christmas Day 1943, a blues guitarist from Medon, Tennessee, and told that he was inspired by BB King. Playing gospel before attending college and eventually moving to Los Angeles, where throughout the 60s and 70s released a number of 45s and albums on a myriad of labels, with untold appearances as a very in-demand session musician, playing on countless tracks for other artists with even spots on television and movie soundtracks.
As the years passed, his sound became funkier, but the soul and blues have always been the backbone of his music. In 1969 he released the immortal ‘It’s Private Tonight’, on the Chisa record label (and destined to be the title of his 1973 debut album too), which is rightly regarded as a deep soul classic and collectors of this genre regard owning it as a right of passage into what many regard as the last bastion of true black music. Over the years he has provided the soul man with any number of highlights, check out his 1979 A&M album, ‘I Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love My Lady’ and drop the stylus on ‘You Give Me Such A Good Feelin’ and wallow in the sheer beauty of a genius at the top of his game. I also have two cracking CDs tilted ‘Back On Track’ from 1999 (his first for some twenty years), and the wonderful ‘Stomp The Floor’ from 2009 which both deserve your attention as both are regular visitors to the CD player at home. And who could forget his huge 1981 club hit ‘You Got The Floor’, which over the years has been sampled and still features today in Modern Soul rooms.
And so to this album then. We kick off with possibly the dancer of the year, I kid you not, ‘Tear The House Down’ launches itself with Reggie McBride’s thumping bass, James Gadson on drums beating out the rhythm, David Leach on percussion, which adds some nice touches, Arthur’s guitar is on top out front, but mixed so well as not to intrude, and then in comes Ronnie Laws on sax filling those spaces nicely, and on top of all this you have Arthur riding the storm as only he knows how. We also have Hense Powell on keyboards too – some serious players on this – a monster way to kick of your new album. Other beauties include two radio-friendly head nodders in ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘Sweet Spot’; in fact, I can see the latter putting a few bodies on the dance floor early at any event. Ballad time, and the glorious simplicity of ‘Forgive Me’ fills the room, it’s a swayer, pint in one hand, a woman in the other, eyes closed, head back, lost in Arthur’s world. Raising the pace slightly for ‘Gonna Make Me Some Money’ he’s looking for work, heading down the freeway with his CV in hand, got to feed his family, so right for today’s message from folks across the pond. Track seven, ‘Enjoy Each Moment, has crept up on the rails and is just such a good song with the perfect musical arrangement and yet another supreme moment in the world of Arthur Adams. The rest of the album has its moments too but you need this for ‘Tear The House Down’, as it’s doubtful a better dancer will come along this year.