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Gary U.S. Bonds - Let Them Talk

G.L.A. Records

12 tracks

My first memory of Gary U.S. Bonds comes from my childhood and seeing him on the dance music shows of the early 60’s. His return to the music scene in the 80’s showed that he still had it and he has done some good work since then in the rock and country genres. He has also spent a lot of great time and efforts with Global Village Champions Foundation bringing hope, food, water, school and medical supplies to the needy children around the world.

Now 71 years young, he apparently still has boundless energy and has taken on record production responsibilities as President of GLA Records. Backing him up are The Roadhouse Rockers; Mark Leimbach on guitar, Lance Hyland Stark on drums, Hal B. Seltzer on bass, Danny Kean on organ/keys and Dan Cipriano on horns are perfect accompaniment to Bond’s soulful, rocking style. Big Mama and Little Mama Anderson’s backing vocal work adds depth and beauty to each of the nine songs they contribute to.

These new songs (four of which Gary hand a hand in writing and most of which were written by the band) take his early blues proto-rocking into a somewhat more modern setting but hearken back to his early days, too. He opens with the rocking number entitled “Whine”; this track burns with a hot horn and guitar accompaniment and Bonds shows us he can still belt one out with the best of them. Tracks like “Pour Me” and “I forgot How Bad My Good Woman Could Be” give us the country side of Bond’s style and he sells it well; Kean’s organ is hot here and throughout. Bond’s ballads like the title track and “She’s a Woman” are moving cuts; his vocals are soulful and stirring. The full out bluesist song on the album is probably "Burden"; Bond's vocals and Kean's piano are really good as are the Andersons backing him and Leimbach's guitar work. Bonds completes the set in Gospel style with a moving love song called “Shake a Hand”. The Andersons and he growl out this secular song in full church style, and Lembach’s guitar solo adds to the pieces' soulfulness.

Is this blues? Mostly not. There are some blues and many bluesy parts to the rocking and country songs. Is it fun and good music? Hell yes. I’ve heard Gary sing for almost 50 years now and he is a great artist and entertainer. I actually wish he’d have done albums more over the years, but the stuff he’s given us has always been entertaining and a lot of fun to listen to..

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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