167

Alvin Youngblood Hart: Start with the Soul

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Just when we had Alvin Youngblood Hart pegged as an acoustic blues revivalist, the man emerges with an all-electric album containing roots-rock originals, Southern rock and soul covers, a Chuck Berry tune, a power-trio acid-rock instrumental, a new reggae composition, and even a country novelty number!

Though Start with the Soul only includes one country-blues tune (and a great one in "A Prophet’s Mission"), it delivers some of the best rock ‘n roll you’re likely to hear this year. Hart is all over the map on Soul, but the songs are so meaty, the band so tight, and the leader’s guitar work so versatile, only a strict blues purist could be upset by this change in direction.

A Coast Guard veteran who honed his chops while stationed in Mississippi, Hart began to display an eclectic spirit on his last release, the mainly acoustic Territory. But Start with the Soul is the polar opposite of Young’s 1996 debut Big Mama’s Door, that charming excursion in old-timey Delta blues that earned the artist a 1997 Handy for best new blues artist.

>From the bone-crunching initial chord of the opener (the hard-rocking "Fightin’ Hard"), you know you’re in for something completely different here. There’s a riff-heavy Los Lobos-style rocker ("Mano Ariba"), a sensational cover of a Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose hit ("Treat Her Like a Lady") and even a skanked-up reggae tune with some very cool guitar effects ("Electric Eel"). And you gotta love the urban cowpoke lyrics on Dave Dudley’s "Cowboy Boots." Guitar lovers should go crazy over the Hendrix-like wah wah sound on "Once Again" and the searing solo on "Treat Her Like a Lady." Even the cover of Black Oak Arkansas’ "Cryin’ Shame" sounds good!

Blues musicians will tell you that rock 'n roll ain't nothin' but the blues with a big beat. Maybe that's why Alvin Youngblood Hart is able to transition so smoothly to a big rock sound. He receives considerable help from producer Jim Dickinson, a roots-music genius.

Start with the Soul is an inspired mish-mash, and one of the best albums of the year-to-date.

| Record Label: Hannibal Records | Style: Blues


Shop

DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Robert Johnson Robert Johnson
vocalist
Mississippi John Hurt Mississippi John Hurt
guitar, acoustic
Larry McCray
guitar, electric
Eric Bibb Eric Bibb
guitar, acoustic
Joe Louis Walker Joe Louis Walker
guitar, electric
Johnny Copeland Johnny Copeland
guitar, electric
Corey Harris Corey Harris
guitar
Blind Willie McTell Blind Willie McTell
guitar, 12-string
Mance Lipscomb Mance Lipscomb
guitar, acoustic

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Dark Territory" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Territory
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Twelve Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Twelve Moons
by Phil Barnes
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Desertion" CD/LP/Track Review Desertion
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!