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Julius Pittman & The Revival - Bucket List
9 tracks; 39:23 minutes; Splendid
Style: Horn Band meets Southern Soul vocalist for a Rock and Soul revival
Julius Pittman’s incredibly good CD immediately raised two issues: First, instead of a Soul fan listening to a cover of a classic song like Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone,” why not just play the original? Secondly, is it possible to record an album with old school stereo separation between left and right speakers like we first heard back when stereo replaced monaural?
Virginia show band and beach music veteran Julius Pittman opens the set with Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone” done deftly, but in pretty much the original arrangement and vocal style. While that might put off a few, I found it a great sounding reminder of that wonderful song. Also, there are bound to be new listeners out there buying a new CD like Pittman’s unfamiliar with Al Green. I’ll guarantee my daughters born after 1980 have not heard this song. Honestly, I had never heard Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain” until the Rolling Stones covered it on 1969’s “Let It Bleed” vinyl album. I did now what I did then, I dug back and enjoyed both the original and the new cover.
Whatever happened to discrete stereo separation? Today’s CDs are mixed with almost everything coming right down the middle and only a little uniqueness in each separate channel. “Bucket List” is a refreshing and pleasing reminder of the joyous days of leaving my mono record player behind and playing my new Zenith stereo with short, round speaker towers. It is pretty cool to hear guitar and muted trumpet over there, saxophone and organ over here, and Julius Pittman’s testifying vocal style coming down the middle. For the complete retro-stereo experience, listen through headphones!
Julius Ray Pittman, enduring years of musical frustration, in 2009, saw the opportunity to form a band dedicated to revitalizing Old School Rock & Soul sounds of the Memphis Stax / Volt era. Their 2009 recording “Bucket List” brings sounds and dynamics reminiscent of West Coast horn bands Jack Mack & The Heart Attack and Tower of Power, also sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Buddy Miles.
“My overall concept of the CD was to showcase the band’s influences over the years; hopefully, to gel into a Rock and Soul Revival, without forgetting our blues and Jazz roots,” says Pittman. “Al Green is one of my all-time favorites, and the first time I heard Jack Mack’s first album, “Cardiac Party,” I literally jumped out of my seat,” he recalls. “I knew that’s the kind of band I wanted to be in.”
Pittman wrote four originals that accompany five inspired covers. Following “Tired Of Being Alone,” horns kick start Jack Mack & The Heart Attack’s “Don't Need No Reason.” B-3 Organ, horns, Pittman’s vocals – the song just soars!
The most powerful ballad in the show is Jack Mack & The Heart Attack’s “Willing To Learn,” perfect for a slow-dance with someone special or singing along with Julius' incredible vocal take.
The second-line beat pumping up original tune “Part Time Lover” should fill dance floors while Tommy Chong’s slow dancer “Does Your Mama Know About Me” is as poignant and relevant as it was when Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers recorded it. Guest tenor Saxman Hugh “Chuck” Williams, a veteran of Albert Collins’ band, brought “A Good Fool Is Hard To Find” into the mix for some killer Rock and Soul.
The Revival features the unique vocals of keyboardist/leader Julius Pittman, guitarist Randy Moss, bassist Audie Stanley, drummer Chris McIntyre, tenor sax player John Stanley, tenor/baritone sax player Howard Smith, and trumpeter/flugelhorn Dave Triplett. Six additional players are studio guests for keys, horns, percussion, and background vocals.
What music fan doesn’t enjoy the sound of great music? This just happens to be great old school soul from the late 60s and the great horn bands of the 70s. Enjoy “Bucket List’s”
Incredibly well done remakes, and to Julius the producer, thank you for that old school stereo – that discrete, it’s allreet!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
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