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Little Phil - Never Gonna Give It Up

Coastal Records

Time-48:08

http://www.littlephilmusic.com/

Georgia native Little Phil is one in the long line of white guys longing to be southern soul singers. He began his career at the age of thirteen with Little Phil And The Night Shadows, a hot band on the Atlanta scene who recorded for Dot Records. Here he enlists Jimmy and Jack Hall of Wet Willie fame. Phil gets an “e for effort” as about half of the time things click here. The backing musicians are adequate and even the use of programmed brass, drums and strings works 90% of the time. You can hear glimpses of Gregg Allman’s phrasing in his delivery. His coarse voice works best when he puts more energy behind it. Three-fourths of the songs were written for this release.

The tunes are of the gritty R&B or slow soul-ballad variety. He even manages to inject a bit of humor into “Tampa With My Baby” by using the pun-“I’m goin’ to Tampa with my baby, but we ain’t leavin’ home”. This song also includes the best blues guitar solo provided by Mike Lowry, who unfortunately only appears on this one track. Some nice New Orlean-ish piano makes an appearance here as well courtesy of Rick Phillips. Phil and band workout nicely on the slow groove of “Nothing But A Thang”. The title song employs an uplifting gospel fervor that bolsters a repetitive groove(a compliment) that features a catchy slide-guitar solo by Rick Hinkle. It’s another of those tunes that benefit from repeated spins. The slow R&B ballad “Midnight To Daylight” benefits from some mellow Jimmy Hall saxophone and the piano of Rick Phillips. “Belinda” almost sounds like a patented Gregg Allman girl-name song, that also boasts some biting guitar by Rick Hinkle. Here as is most often the case here, the programmed brass actually works, providing just the right punch to the sound.

All-in-all an uneven effort, but when it works it works. A little more effort in finding or writing more unusual songs with more original lyrics would help. The feel and intent are apparent. But good intentions don’t always deliver the desired results. If you are a devotee of smoldering southern soul this guy is worth keeping an eye on.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.

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