Review: Bobby Hurricane Spencer – Hurricane Unleashed

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 24, 2015


Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer – Hurricane Unleashed

 (R. Music, Inc.)

Originally born in Detroit, Michigan Bobby (aged eleven months) and his family finally settled in Alameda County, California after living in the Arkansas area for a brief period. Bobby had, since his youth pursued twin goals of becoming an English teacher and a professional musician, his teaching dream has become a reality for he has taught English full time in the Los Angeles School district area for over thirty years, a place which has become his home.

His vocals / tenor saxophone playing musical apprenticeship was served in the sixties playing on the Chilitin’ circuit in the clubs of his local area of East Oakland, this led to work in the nearby San Francisco Bay area. In his forty five year plus playing career he has played in the funk bands of Johnny Tolbert and De Thangs and Marvin Holmes and the Uptights in clubs such as; Al’s House of Smiles, the Showcase, the Sportsman, Esther’s Orbit Room and the Continental Club.

He went on to play in other clubs including; The Shalamar and Troyce Key’s Eli’s Mile High Club. It was on one particular evening’s performance that he delivered a spectacularly hot solo that J.J. Bad Boy Jones declared to Bobby that “Bob, you the Hurricane!” and this moniker has since then remained with him.

During his long and sparkling career Bobby has worked for or with such artists as; of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Big Mama Thornton, Sugar Pie De Santo, Charles Brown, Sonny Rhodes, Lowell Fulson, Pee Wee Crayton, Z.Z. Hill, Percy Mayfield, Carla Thomas, Irma Thomas, Finis Tansby, Jimmy McCracklin, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, J.J. Malone and Red Foxx also, Koko Taylor has recorded numbers written by Bobby. Now aged 71, he continues to impress, influence and wow people with his love of the blues.

On this twelve track album (which also includes four numbers from his debut album), we are treated to steamy, sensual, soulful and funky enveloping saxophone delights in various forms, the indispensable backing of Andrea Balestra; guitar, Matias Alvear Fall; bass, Dario Benzoni; drums and Mo Beeks; keyboards adds immeasurably to your aural pleasure. The alluring “Gotta Get Back To Chicago”, introduces us into a world of funky organ and smoothly soaring, burning saxophone with a deliciously underpinning rolling and chugging urban guitar.

Bobby’s relaxed, smooth and burnished vocals deliciously sail on the enticingly sweet sax breeze that drives “All I Need”, a tale of true love. There are two fine instrumentals firstly, Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk”,  the delightful combination of sweetly soaring saxophone and hip swinging grooving guitars, more than anchors you firmly to the dance floor, while Grover Washington’s “Magic”, is more suited to late night lounge suited strutting and close grooving in a somewhat seedy goodtime down and dirty nightclub.

“Lover’s Hill”, is a heart-warming pleader from a lonesome soul in search of love, the combination of delicate and sincere vocal proclamations and an enticing slowburning sax definitely reels you in. The sultry, funky saxophone and low level burning organ of “Little Mama”, introduces a hip swaying rhythm that has enticing hints of a closeness yet to come.

Suitable for after hours grooving!


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