Bobby Reed & The Surpize Band CD/DIG (Private Press) 3/5

Let’s get the negatives out of the way, I know very few people who claim to be into soul music who will be able to embrace this quite superb long player, you see it’s the blues, RnB, Soul and Jazz with occasional Doo Wop inflections, big band too, it’s got the bloody lot. Take the deep soul opus, ‘Worried Dream’, not a horn in sight but it has one heavy lead guitar for company, with Reed singing like his life depends on it. Straight then to the mellow Doo Wop of ‘I’m Going Back’, with its ever present tinkling ivories, again he’s straining at the leash telling his woman he’s going back to what he used to do. The track that’s crept up on the outside rail is the heavenly blues of ‘Be With Me’. Drenched in horns, bass lead guitar and the kind of vocal we got used to from BB King.

There are a couple of serious rocking dancers on here too, which will take a couple of plays to sink in, Jazzy, Bluesy with a touch of Soul, almost a big band sound, they sound great loud. Of course the musicianship is second to none and you would expect that with over 50 years experience in the business. The mid tempo, ‘Why Did You Have To Lie’, is another grower, listen if your looking for something a tad different but still want that black vocal then grab a listen, you won’t be disappointed.

I wonder if he’s the same singer that sang ‘The Time is Right For Love’. If you get to read this Bobby let me know.

Brian Goucher