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The Soul Of John Black – Good Thang

Yellow Dog Records

10 tracks; 39.53 minutes

John “JB” Bigham is The Soul Of John Black and apart from some support on backing vocals from Jonell Kennedy and Nikki Costa, keys from Adam McDougall and drums by Oliver Charles, this is entirely John’s own work. He wrote all the material (with assistance from Chris Thomas on two tracks), played all guitar parts and lead vocals and produced the CD. He even did the CD cover artwork! This is his third CD, the previous one “Black John” produced something of a ‘hit’ record in “Betty Jean”.

The music is mainly soul and funk with all bass parts being synthesised. To my personal taste this gives a rather repetitive feel to the music with tracks such as “Oh That Feeling” outstaying their welcome. John has a good voice and I preferred a straight soul song like “How Can I”, with its 70s feel (think Earth, Wind And Fire) to some of the funkier pieces such as the title track.

There are some traces of the blues in this material. “My Brother” starts with some nice acoustic guitar in a country blues vein but the track is overtaken by synthesised bass sounds. “Strawberry Lady” has some well played acoustic slide and a catchy chorus but the song is quite repetitive.

I was interested to listen to “New York To LA” as it is subtitled “inspired by Duke Ellington and I have always been a fan of the Duke. However, I could not detect the link here on a track with a less convincing vocal from John who tries to find a higher register for the song.

I must admit that this is not my sort of music so I am probably not the best person to review this CD but, for me, the material was not strong enough and the music too limited to sustain my interest. I am sure that others will disagree and enjoy The Soul Of John Black.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and is currently planning his trip to the Blues Blast Awards in October.

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