Review: Deb Callahan – Sweet Soul

Posted on: Friday, Sep 18, 2015

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Deb Callahan – Sweet Soul

(Blue Pearl Records)

Out of Philadelphia, Deb is a strong-voiced singer of blues and soul, here tackling a programme of 13 mostly original tracks, recorded in Los Angeles and produced by the vastly experienced Tony Braunagel.

Deb’s strong and convincing vocals are backed by a versatile band including Deb’s own guitarist Allen James, who has a fine light touch, keyboards player Mike Finnigan (Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and many others), bass player Reggie McBride (too many to mention, from BB King and Stevie Wonder on down) and drummer Braunagel himself.

Special guests are the illustrious Johnny Lee Schell on slide guitar and harmonica man Jimmy Powers. Not that Deb is in anyway intimidated or overshadowed by such talent – if you want to hear her and her band grooving on the blues, listen to the cover of Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2’s ‘Crazy ‘Bout You Baby’, or in contrast lend an ear as she tackles the original slow blues of ‘Slow As Molasses, Sweet As Honey’ – though admittedly most of the set is upbeat.

For some of the ‘sweet soul’ the CD title promises, try Deb’s bluesy version of Candi Staton’s ‘Sweet Feeling’. In fact, if you like blues and soul at all, try almost any track at random and you won’t be disappointed!

NORMAN DARWEN

www.debcallahanband.com

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