Review: Dexter Allen – Bluez Of My Soul

Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014


Dexter Allen – Bluez of My Soul

(Deep Rush Records)

Dexter Allen can rightly claim to say that he owes his unique outlook on life and music to two different people; his father and Bobby Rush. As a member of the church, his father was the pastor of the local church in their home town of Crystal Springs, Mississippi and he had a gospel quartet called the Christian Travellers, of which Dexter joined at the age of twelve as the bass player.  As was the tradition at the time the quartet played in a good number of other churches across the south and it was whilst performing at The Saint Luther Church in Jackson, Mississippi, that Dexter first met Booby Rush, who was a member of the congregation.

Aged 18 Dexter decided to spread his musical wings by joining other gospel groups those being the Dixon Singers and the Robinson Brothers. Due to the fact that the Robinson Brothers; Joey; guitar, drums and keyboards, Fred; bass and Jeremy; drums and Dexter were at a younger age than the Christian Travellers they decided to develop funkier elements in their style of play and as a consequence they played all across America for a number of years.

After meeting up with Bobby Rush again Bobby invited Dexter to join his band which he accepted and spent three eventful years being mentored by Bobby as they toured across the world. He subsequently formed his own band and paid his dues by playing in the clubs and concert halls of America. After the release of two previous albums, Dexter is now reunited not only with Bobby on this album which is on Bobby’s own Deep Rush label but also, with the Robinson Brothers who add their musical talents to the proceedings.

All eleven numbers here are Dexter originals and contain that unique open and stirring atmosphere created by the heady mixture of humbling angelic Gospel harmonies and raw, sawing tumbling Blues, this is very much the case with “Coming Home to Mississippi”, where Bobby Rush lays down a marker with his rasping down home harmonica play that interjects over a spiralling crying guitar,  on “Ride This Train”, the hacksaw tearing harmonica once again from Bobby duels with snapping, sapping drumwork while over the top Dexter pleads for passengers to board this special train. Guns, drugs and family breakdowns are the 21st century painful causes of “Still Called The Bluez”, a heartrending lyrical guitar drives this slowburning plea for compassion and belief.

Elsewhere there is an entwining thread of smooth slinky Jazz and late night, funky pleading guitar that is at times both elusive and cavorting “Come Out And Play”, eloquently displays the seductiveness of the former while the grooving and funky “Have A time” and “Bluez Party”, effortlessly ooze out the latter.



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