Albert Storo & the Soul Hustlers

Albert Storo & the Soul Hustlers
Getting’ Down & Nasty

Self-produced, available on www.cdbaby.com

By Karen Nugent
May 2008

There’s a warning on this disc that says “For Fullest Pleasure, Play At A Slightly Louder Volume Than Normal.”

How true it is.

Houston-based Albert Storo has put out seven solid tracks of outstanding electric blues – well, make that six tracks. The last song, his rearrangement of “My Favorite Things” (yes, from The Sound of Music) isn’t exactly blues, but it’s not Rogers and Hammerstein, either.

The disc, his first, is phenomenal.

From the opening “That’s Alright,” a much faster version than the Jimmy Rogers classic, to the 14-minute funky “Chicken Heads” by Bobby Rush, my favorite song on the record, there really isn’t one song you might opt to skip over.

It rocks – nearly all the songs are danceable – but is not what you’d call “blues rock.” The album is raw, fresh and interesting, and minus those tired special effects like distortion and wah-wah pedals. Storo describes his style as “rocked-up blues.”

Storo, who does all the vocals and guitar playing, along with bass and drums on one track, is obviously influenced by fellow Texan, Stevie Ray Vaughn. But he also draws heavily from Otis Rush and Freddie King.

Willy Kent’s “All My Life,” a slow, smoky blues, showcases his guitar prowess.

The one original on the disc, Storo’s “Lovin’ You,” sticks to the pure blues sound and reminds me of Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, another of Storo’s influences.

For us stubborn purists, besides “That’s Alright,” Storo offers the snazzy “Hipshakin’ Woman,” a fast-paced number. He puts a funky spin on “Sugar Sweet,” a favorite of Muddy Waters, but the guitar solo is stupendous.

That brings us to “Chicken Heads,” a very long song with a Hendrix-like guitar thing in the middle. The nearly 15 minute time span is OK with me, especially when it took me most of the way home from work on a few late nights. The tune was recorded live at the Sunset Bar and Grill in Houston, and you sure can picture the bumpin’ and grinding that must have been going on.

I’m not quite sure why Storo picked “My Favorite Things” as the closing track It’s rearranged as a jazz song, and, frankly, is much preferable to the original, in my opinion.

Storo played drums earlier in his career, and worked with Bobby Parker, W.C. Clark, and Trudy Lynn, among others, including Boston’s Brian Templeton and the Radio Kings. He’s jammed with Albert Collins and Carey Bell, and has opened for B.B. King.

The other band members on the disc are Chaz Nadege and Steve Cecil on keyboards, Jessica Bucheit and Alfred Kennedy on bass, and Charlie San Miguel and Mark McSwain on drums.

Let’s hope Storo brings his Texas-sauced Chicago blues up here soon.

www.AlbertStoro.com

www.cdbaby.com

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