Back To Reviews page

Zach Prather & Slight Return - Freak

13 tracks/52:40

Born in Chicago, Zack Prather grew up surrounded by the blues. After traveling around the world playing music, Prather finally settled in Paris and established himself throughout the European continent. His fourth release finds him backed by Urs Baumeler on bass, Eric Kunz on drums, Chris Huele on the Hammond organ and Michel Carras on keyboards. Prather handles all of the guitar and vocal parts. Additionally he wrote nine of the songs and co-wrote another with Kunz and Baumeler.

The opening track, "Steam Roller", features a tight groove and a strong lead vocal from Prather. The band slips into a funkier blues mode on "Mercy", with the instrumental focus on Hueleís organ. Pratherís vocal on "It Ainít You" sounds eerily similar to Peter Wolfís style from the pop-rock era of the J. Geils Band. "In Love With You" is Texas style shuffle in the Stevie Ray vein. The Big Bang Horns are featured on two tracks, the soulful "I Can Make It" and the brief closing number, "Guest Room", with the horns blowing over a New Orleans second-line beat.

A couple of tracks were less satisfying. The title track is a funk workout that explores territory Rick James covered more effectively several decades ago. "Cadillack 69" is a frenetic rocker but the sexually suggestive lyrics are too simplistic to make much of an impression.

The three covers are also a mixed bag. Prather turns in an impressive vocal on Lonnie Brooks "Wound Up Tight", adding a strong guitar solo that matches the intensity of his singing. The rhythm section is prominent in the mix a straight-forward take on "All Your Loviní", the Otis Rush classic. Prather falls short on his rendition of "Ainít No Sunshine" as his vocal canít capture the stark emotions of Bill Witherís original.

This is a solid effort by Prather and his band. The instrumental solos are brief and concise, keeping the focus on the songs and Zackís singing. He has a strong voice with plenty of range. The tracks are well-recorded and the overall sound quality of the disc is quite good. Prather & Slight Return definitely worth checking out.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

  To submit a review or interview please contact:

Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with
 Copyright - 2007 - Design by: