Dave Keller

Dave Keller
Soul Changes

Tasty T-O-N-E (TT-3040)

By Georgetown Fats
May 2014

Upon my initial spin of Soul Changes, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Dave Keller has actual roots in Massachusetts and New England. He may be one of our own, but Dave Keller plays and sings like a man with more authentic roots in his soul and his soul music.

Keller’s Soul Changes is split between two sessions. The first six tracks, the “Memphis Sessions,” opens with “Searching for a Sign.” Backed by the High Rhythm Section plus Stax aces Bobby Manuak and Lester Snell, it is clear from the very beginning that Soul Changes Keller can more than hold his own. Soul Changes is not vanity project.

While it is hard to not hear the triple-A radio feel to “Old Man’s Lullabye,” the horn arrangement by The Royal Horns - namelythe baritone work of Kirk Smothers - keeps the track trucking along enough so it does [does’nt?] collapse onto the grove and degenerate into dentist office music level material.

The “Brooklyn Sessions,” featuring The Revelations, kicks in with “It’s Too Strong.” Normally I would pan an almost note-for-note reproduction of a cover tune, but if you can reproduce a highly nuanced O’Jays track with pure skill and musicianship,then you make the best of your mechanical license fee and stick as close to the classic as possible. Keller and company nail this rendition.

On the cover of The Temptation’s “Don’t Look Back,” Keller once again stays very close to the blueprint of the song. Here too,his affinity for sticking close to the roots is incredibly beneficial. With the the amount of skill assembled for the recording session, and the well designed choice in cover material, Dave Keller and company nail that cover tune.

When not on the road for The Dave Keller Band shows or participating with The Revelations in soul reviews backing Otis Clay and Swamp Dogg, The Dave Keller Band regularly backs the great Johnny Rawls on the festival circuit. With music being transferred both by written and audible means and being surrounded by all that talent, it is clear that Dave Keller may have also benefitted from musical transference by osmosis.

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