Darrell Nulisch with Mike Welch, Wolf Ginandes and

Darrell Nulisch with Mike Welch, Wolf Ginandes and
Live review - Regattabar, Cambridge (Feb 19)

By Rachel Lee
March 2009

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Darrell Nulisch, a Dallas transplant and two-time W.C. Handy Award nominee came out swinging last month with his blend of blues and deep-fried soul.

Nulisch has been Massachusetts resident since 1990, when he came up from Dallas to front local blues stalwarts Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. Then, from 1998 to 2004, he was a vocalist for the great James Cotton.

The band started out up-tempo and rocking with Little Milton’s “Lonely Man.” Next came Roy C’s R&B number, “There Goes That Train.”

Even sans horns, Nulisch has the whole Memphis soul thing down pat. On songs like the adapted “You Tore My Playhouse Down,” from his album I Like It That Way, you can really hear the plaintiveness and expressiveness in his voice.

He also did justice to the James Carr classics “Pouring Water on a Drowning Man,” and “Love Attack.”

Off and on, the band would go into straight blues numbers showcasing Monster Mike Welch’s precision solos on songs such as “Blue Monday,” off of Nulisch’s latest disc, Goin’ back to Dallas. The 2007 disc, produced and engineered partially by Nulisch, was recently nominated for a Blues Music Award for traditional blues record of the year.

Nulisch, while being a laid back guy on stage, really lets his voice do the talking - and his vocals really stood out on his own “Worried” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Riding in the Moonlight.”

As good as Darrell’s voice is, the highlights of the evening were when he took out his harmonica and tore into such songs as Sonny Boy Williamson‘s “She’s My Baby,” which is also featured on Goin’ back to Dallas.

The harmonica numbers really have a Chicago style blues feel to them, which I really enjoy. Nulisch’s lineup can be varied, but his shows have been reliably good.

He can be seen next at the Tampa Bay blues festival in Florida.


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