Al Basile

Al Basile
Groovin’ In The Mood Room

Sweetspot Records SWP6602

By Art Tipaldi
September 2006

When Al Basile met Duke Robillard in 1969, his creative writing direction took a left turn. By 1973, Basile was hired as the first trumpet player in Robillard’s Roomful of Blues, a seat he held until 1975. He reunited with Duke in the late 1980s, as both co-writer and player.

Basile’s own recording career includes discs recorded in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, and features music from soul to jazz to blues and everything in between.

Here, Basile traveled to Duke’s Mood Room studio in Rhode Island.

Because Basile received his master’s degree from Brown University in the creative writing program, his music is more about telling the poignant stories of complicated characters wrapped in classic rhythms.

The album starts off with the hard edged “I Got to Be The Boss.”

Basile sings, Duke toughens the guitar and Marty Ballou and Mark Texeria set the rock foundation. The disappointment when the dream fails is what Basile’s character sings about on “How Much Better Better Can Get.” Baslie later offers advice and caution to those who have let love slip through the cracks on life on “Your Turn To Pay.”

Many of Basile’s songs have a warm, nostalgic feel. “Baby Sister,” oddly recalls Ry Cooder’s “Little Sister,” while “Your Rights,” with Duke’s Dobro and his first ever piano solo, sounds like the country tonk favored by Delbert McClinton.

Basile also reprises Duke’s “Take My Word For It” from his Dangerous Place record, but with a New Orleans feel and Duke’s twangy, Scotty Moore guitar solos. And “Coffee and Cadillacs,” one of the coolest stories about the devilish turns most musical careers take, was inspired by a Chuck Berry line from “Nadine.” As the title suggests, there is lots of groovin’ goin’ on musically, and lots of stories to read over and over.

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