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Al Basile - The Goods

Sweetspot Records


Former Roomful Of Blues cornet player Al Basile puts a 40s-50s hipster vibe into his music, while still sounding fresh and up-to-date. The cover photos of Al looking like a Capone-era gangster add to the mystique. Presented here is a mélange of blues and R&B featuring Al’s clear and strong voice, as well as tuneful cornet solos. He also joins Doug James creating a horn section that punctuates many of the tunes. The entire record is penned by the leader himself. There is a story-telling quality to the his self-written songs. As if Al’s talent wasn’t enough, former Roomful band-mate Duke Robillard lends his band and impressive production and guitar skills to the blend as extra insurance. The record is a mix of blues, R&B and gospel influences. Fast-paced and slower fare are both executed with equal finesse. He works his cornet into the mix with ease, be it a ringing melody or some muted riffing.

The lyrical content speaks to everyday life conditions, be it struggling to keep afloat financially, love troubles, reality TV or Santa. “The Price (I Got To Pay)” decries the narrator’s money woes to an upbeat R&B horn section. “Along Comes The Kid” weaves a tale of a hipster. Duke embellishes this song with a guitar solo that cuts through the night. A bank robber’s last and fatal bank robbery is retold in “1.843 Million” a song that benefits from Robillard’s guitar that bespeaks the urgency of the situation. Bell-like cornet appears in the gospel-flavored ballad “Lie Down In Darkness(Raise Up In Light)” that gets the rock-solid backing of The Blind Boys Of Alabama. Al even makes a Christmas tune work. “Don’t Sleep On Santa” refers to not falling asleep on Santa’s arrival, and not my first shutter take on the title. Piccolo, muted cornet and snappy percussion lend the atmosphere of a bebop tune of years gone by. A New Orleans funeral-dirge vibe is skillfully created with cornet and the required percussion on “Pealing Bells”, a plea for love.

A few weaker tracks aside, this is a well thought-out undertaking showing expert craftsmanship. Instrumental and lyrical nuances make for one satisfying listening experience. Mr. Basile has found a somewhat unique niche for himself that should please a large segment of the blues-minded audience. Duke Robillard and band mates provide a strong base for Al to construct his vision.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

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