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Raoul and The Big Time - You My People

www.raoulandthebigtime.com

13 tracks

I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect from a CD titled You My People by a Canadian actor born in England named Raoul Bhaneja. I kept an open mind. I’m glad that I did. The title track, “You My People,” is an upbeat paean to those who like “live music played in a down home way.” So, as it turns out, I am his people!

Raoul and The Big Time is a four piece combo led my actor/harmonica player Raoul Bhaneja. The other members are Darren Gallen on guitar, Tom Bona on drums, and Terry Wilkins on upright bass. All are veterans of the Canadian blues scene. Bona is a Maple Blues Award winner. Terry Wilkins has played for a number of bands, including Levon Helm’s. The band has opened for Buddy Guy, Bobby Bland, and the Downchild Blues Band. This CD has a number of guest appearances such as Junior Watson and Mark Hummel.

I like the track, “You My People.” It’s catchy and infectious. “One Card Trump” has a big band feel to it with two sax players and a trumpeter with Bhaneja soloing on the Mississippi saxophone. His vocals are a bit rough though. “Live Without Me” is about a man who realizes he does not have the upper hand in his relationship. I like the down and dirty beat to the song. The rough vocals give it a pained, plaintive quality. “Where the Wind Blows On Shore” continues the theme in a slower tempo. “Movin’ Out” sounds downright old. “All to Myself” is a Ray Charles ballad. “Born to Love” is an up-tempo Chess Records, “I’m a Man” machismo type song. It is immediately followed by a cover of Muddy Waters’ “Gypsy Woman.” “Breathin’ In” is an instrumental with dueling harp by Mark Hummel. It is the most contemporary sounding track on the CD. The remaining songs are of a social commentary character from war to the economy, tongue and cheek anti smoking, and a “We Can Change” romp reminiscent of a political campaign to the south, i.e., south of Canada.

The band is good. I particularly like the upright bass and the piano by guest artist Tyler Yarema. Yarema’s playing is similar to Otis Spann. However, there seems to be a glut of fedora, vest and tie wearing retro bands hitting the market now days. Many of them are good. Overall, You My People, is another retro style blues and big band CD albeit one of the better ones.

Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.

 

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