Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings
Feel So Good – Albert Cummings Live

Blind Pig Records, BPCD 5124

By Brian D. Holland
November 2008

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For those unacquainted with Albert Cummings, and that should be very few by now, he’s a performer from Western Massachusetts with an interesting guitar and vocal style. Though he never strays too far from blues territory, his songs are often potent, very much in a rock ‘n’ roll vein, and sometimes with a raw country feel. He plays a Fender Strat, often with very fat tone - fatter than what most Strat players are accustomed to.

He’s known for keeping the guitar volume down about halfway and tweaking the amp to a level that pushes it. The outcome is a whopping fullness that’s thunderous, especially in the live setting. When not playing guitar and singing, Cummings runs an award-winning custom home building business.

Recorded live in Pittsfield Feel So Good is his 5th release, and his third for the Blind Pig label. His first live recording, the disc is a fine display of the exhilaration that he and his band can summon. The music is diverse from start until finish, with a lot of kick-ass funk and rockin’ blues.

The opening song, “Party Right Here,” originally from his 2006 album Working Man, is the ideal introduction to the show. It possesses everything Albert Cummings: an original composition of country flavored blues-rock - one that instantly gets the audience energized and ready to party. His rhythmic chops and searing lead solo are standout.

The follower, “Why Me,” is more of the same, yet closer to a country blues flavor. “Sleep”, from his True to Yourself album, is next. The audience is able to mellow out a bit in this one, as its rhythmic appeal and tranquil flow make for peaceful listening.

Next, a mixture of traditional electric blues and country rock come together in a medley of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken,” pushing the stimulation factor right back up again.

“Barrelhouse Blues” is the quintessential Albert Cummings audience pleaser. His scorching guitar and potent vocal tenacity is prominent throughout this slow blues excursion. “Tell It Like It Is” brings out the dancing shoes and “Rock Me Baby” gets the funk out.

Though Albert always walks a fine line between rock and blues, he demonstrates effortlessly that the blues makes everybody feel great in “Blues Makes Me Feel So Good.”

Taking up the level as far as it can go to end the show, Albert and crew get totally rocked out in a cover of Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”

Although Cummings’ brand of blues is generally anything but pure, especially in the live setting, you can expect to be mollified with electrifying blues-rock and barnstorming oomph. The blues is certainly present in the music, but his style is one that recognizes no boundaries. Feel So Good is a good example of the interesting aspects of the entire Albert Cummings musical approach. More than anything, it demonstrates how much fun people have at his shows. He’s a performer who knows how to get a crowd wound up and energized for the duration.

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