Cleopatra Blues 2019
Ever-youthful soul stalwart serves up an epistle that will set the listener for a blissful trip.
It’s been 40 years since Arthur Adams released the last record of his first run, 20 years since his return to the fray, and 10 years since his previous album was out, yet in fact the Tennessee native has never stopped playing. Over the decades, he worked tirelessly with such prominent figures as Nina Simone, B.B. King and Keb’ Mo’, albeit seeing the 75-year-old as a strict bluesman would mean severely limiting his talents. The artist’s 1981’s chart-topper “You Got The Floor” channeled disco fever, and that’s how “Here To Make You Feel Good” begins, too. So don’t let the shack, the hat and the guitar on its cover get in the way of hearing to these songs with an open mind and an open heart.
Don’t let the danceability of the title track pass you by, either, because here’s a number turning the whole idea of blues – refined on the preceding “By Myself” where Arthur’s guitar is finally brought to the fore to star alongside his incredibly young vocals – upside down, as self-pity is but a passing specter that rears its defiant head on the breezy “Forgive Me” without smearing the groove of “Enjoy Each Moment”: the album’s conceptual, spiritual point. While bubbling bass and gurgling synths seem to set “Tear The House Down” on an old-school course, the cut’s infectious funk – taken to cloud nine for “Sweet Spot” – will ooze contemporary feel, Adams’ twang propelling refrains towards catharsis and cleansing the palate for a slice of honeyed rockabilly called “Full Of Fire”; yet if instrumental “Little Dab’ll Do Ya” should confirm the relevance of the veteran’s mojo, “Pretty Lady” would be the best display of his voice’s soul-stirring suppleness – supplemented with plaintive piano.
The reality-checking “Gonna Make Some Money” has even more vitality attached to its brass-splashed jive that’s so easy to relate to – so much so as to warrant another chart entry for AA. An amazing comeback.