Review: D. A. Foster – The Real Thing

Posted on: Sunday, Mar 1, 2015


D. A. Foster – The Real Thing

(Shaboo/Vizztone: VTSH-001)

D. A. was for most of his early professional life, a promoter, although he started his professional singing career at the age of fourteen somehow or other he became detoured into the role of being the part owner of a club named the Shaboo Inn, which was a thousand seat capacity R& B and jazz night club, located in north-eastern Connecticut.

Over the eleven years he was there beginning in 1971 he oversaw and enjoyed the performances of artists such as: Willie Dixon, Howlin” Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, James Cotton, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt and the threeKings – BB, Albert and Freddie. He also invited onto the stage the likes of; Aerosmith, AC/DC, Hall & Oates, The Police, Dire Straits, Cheap Trick and Elvis Costello but, his passion for playing the blues still burned and during those years he learnt well from the masters and in 1979 formed the Shaboo Allstars with Matt Murphy (who was also his golfing partner).

The band toured extensively across America, during the years 1980 and 1981 and garnered rave reviews across the board. As time has passed D.A. has continued to combine business and pleasure; owning a company supplying instruments for live venues and booking / promoting whilst, also performing with his band. Although, he has over the years become a vital part of the blues world, it is only now that D.A. has had the opportunity to ‘lay some permanent tracks down’ for all to hear and enjoy.

There are twelve numbers here for your delectation, all delivered with D.A.’S comfortingly burnt-edged and deep soul infused, mellow vocals, providing the locked-in groove are The Phantom Blues Band; Mike Finnigan; Hammond B3 and piano, Tony Braunagel; drums, Larry Fulcher; bass, Johnny Lee Schell; guitar, Darrel Leonard; trumpet, Joe Sublett; saxophone Plus, David Garfield; piano, Josh Skliar; guitar, Lenny Castro; percussion and Lee Thorberg; flugelhorn, trombone and trumpet. Together they create an enticing mixture of rollicking R&B and rather mature and sophisticated laid back blues with large atmospheric chunks of smoke filled jazz.

A fine example of this is Don D. Robey’s “This Time I’m Gone For Good”, a tantalising mixture of  slowburning, swirling Hammond and dreamily picking guitar, playing against cool cocktail ivories, underpinning the almost languishing vocals of D.A. Another Robey number is “Ain’t Doing Too Bad”, which is a brassy horn led shuffler with a pulsating organ and B.B. picked strutting guitar that carries you on through. “Good Man, Bad Thing”, has a marvellous sixties horn led hook line with the organ and guitar swapping leads in picking and punching.

Charles E. Calhoun’s “Smack Down In The Middle”, is a strutting mixture of goodtime rolling piano, urging brass and girly chorus, all wrapped around D.A.’s roughly edged, swinging fifties crooning feel. Brook Benton’s “Lie To Me”, really brings out D.A.’s world weary and somewhat melancholy timbre, the handclaps and saxophone can but only emphasise the sadness and futility of it all.

Recommended and cool!


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