Kenny Neal

Kenny Neal
Hooked on your Love

Blind Pig Records

By Melissa LeBrun
December 2010

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Kenny Neal defines himself as an artist of the blues, with his contemporary approach and deep roots. This CD is a well-balanced mix of originals, some Deep South to jazz, a true blues lover’s CD. Neal, born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, was born into music, as his father is famed harmonica master Raful Neal (1936-2004). Neal’s band is made up of various family members and includes his son, daughter, sister, brothers and friends.

“Hooked on Your Love” - Very smooth, a nice blend of contemporary blues with beautiful backing vocals on the chorus. Kenny’s fills are soulful and clean; by the second turn around he has you hooked and you will be singing along.

“Bitter with the Sweet” - This arrangement is lacking for nothing; the organ and piano are as full as you need – rolling and trickling nicely to a steady drum track. The backing vocals end the track with the sweet, very sweet.

“Down in the Swamp” - I can’t help but hear some real roots here, perhaps a little Ry Cooder-sounding, with one foot in the swamp and one in the kitchen cookin’ up some good ol’ soul food. This tune really brings out the deep Southern vibe.

“Blind, Crippled or Crazy” - A good chugging blues number, another sweet arrangement. The bass really holds this one together with good hooks and dynamics.

“If Walls Could Talk” - you ought to be glad that shoes can’t talk. Sultry and fun, this number has a nice up-tempo with a bright hook and more turn arounds that make it hard to sit still. Compulsive foot tapping and wanting to dance describes the feel here.

“Things Have Got to Change” - Kenny has really got the tempo to fix the mood with rim shots, nice keyboards and the horns stretching out in a symphony of melodies; you get an almost pleading-like feel where you can really tell this one is from the heart.

“New Lease on Life” - a good grip on the feel again here, the guitars chugging along with the synth and clavinet doing their job. The essence of this solid arrangement blends rhythms and vocals to produce a new lease on life.

“Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” - The sax and trumpet are prominent here, with almost a Blood, Sweat and Tears boogie to it, but Kenny’s guitars are classic. Neal’s guitar work is mixed subtly brought forward enough in song to give it originality.

“Old Friends” - Good ol’ 3-4 blues with very nice harmonica. The harp picks this song up and really makes sitting around with some old friends the persona, shake off the week and relax, really tells it all.

“Tell Me Why” - this track has a very somber, almost mystical feel to it. Another sultry guitar blended with the synth, kind of takes you to a quite alone moment, where one might need some time to think.

“Voodoo Mama” - Good ol’ New Orleans jazz and blues. Nice upbeat foot stomping blues.

“You Don’t Love Me” - sums up a very pleasant and well -balanced musical genre.

Throughout the CD the back up vocalists are smooth, sultry and rhythmic, making this listener hum along. The Kenny Neal sounds are classic, vibrant, soulful and fun. This is a must-have for all blues fans.

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