Selections from "Live at the Palais Royale' / Soulsville 3" - Danny Brooks
“No Turning Back,” “Righteous Highway,” “Carolina,” and “Carry Me”
Danny Brooks
From Live at the Palais Royale' / Soulsville 3 (release scheduled for September 2009)

TBGB has reviewed several projects by Canada’s Danny Brooks over the years, having first heard him when he appeared on the 2002 Northernblues Music compilation Saved! Northernblues Gospel Allstars.

Later this summer, Brooks will return with a brand new release, part of his celebrated “Soulsville” series: Live at the Palais Royale’ / Soulsville 3. A live album makes sense, too, because Brooks plays the kind of music that revels in audience enthusiasm.

Although his album won’t be out until September, Brooks previewed some of its tracks for TBGB. First is “No Turning Back.” Brooks does some raucously righteous blue-eyed soul shouting on the infectious song about getting religion and not backsliding. The performance features bluesy harmonica, courtesy of Jerome Godboo, and a chugging rockabilly beat. Brooks notes that he wrote the song “with the Five Blind Boys of Alabama in mind.

On “Righteous Highway,” a Brooks track originally featured on the Northernblues Saved! compilation, Papa John King solos on slide guitar/resonator like a saved George Thorogood, while Brooks handles the fuzz slide, summoning up the ghost of Elmore James in the stinging metallic chording.

Brooks also plays slide guitar on “Carolina” and “Carry Me.” The latter sounds like an updated version of a 1920s guitar evangelist street corner performance. All in all, Soulsville 3 promises more rootsy religious music, but this time with high-octane electric gusto, no doubt propelled to higher heights by an appreciative audience.

In early October, Danny Brooks will be appearing at the Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, Texas. I can totally see him performing his distinctive gospel music in that environment. And word has it he is spending more time in Austin these days. Canada’s loss is Austin’s gain, but his singing and playing suggests that Texas has been running warm in his veins for quite some time.

Posted by Bob Marovich at 6:31 PM No comments:
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Thursday, February 07, 2013
"Something Gotta Hold On Me" - Danny Brooks

“Something Gotta Hold On Me”
Danny Brooks
From the His House CD Texassippi Soul Man (2012)

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

When someone asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he is alleged to have answered, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Similarly, should someone ask Ontario-born singer-songwriter and guitarist Danny Brooks why he moved to Texas, he’s likely to answer, “Because that’s where the roots music is.”

Deep inside Danny Brooks beats the heart of a Delta bluesman. He has relocated to Texas to pursue his craft in the company of like-minded souls. His latest album, Texassippi Soul Man, chronicles the physical and psychological journey in its lyrics and music. To harmonica, slide guitar, pounding drums, bass, and an occasional tambourine, Brooks sings with so much grit, you'd think he drank a bottle of rattlesnake juice. He looks and plays like the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. The result is an amalgam of country, blues, and gospel that the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals made a living out of recording, and is now sometimes referred to as Americana.

On “Caught the Fire,” Brooks name checks his musical heroes, from B.B. King and Hank Williams to Sam Cooke and Little Richard, and thanks the Lord that “the whole soul clan did a number on me.” Right there is an indication of the swirl of styles that inform Brooks’ music.

While the majority of the tracks are love songs or pay tribute to roots music heroes, and are therefore somewhat outside the scope of this blog, “Something Gotta Hold On Me” is decidedly inspirational. The tempo moves from loping to Baptist shout to Pentecostal tempo. In the liner notes, Brooks—who has in the past recorded many a rootsy gospel number—announced he wants “to send this song to the Blind Boys of Alabama.” I hope he has.

Another gospel number is “Mama Prayed,” a Southern country-fried and Opry-ready song where Mama’s fervent prayers rescue her son from “needle, spoon and shame.”

Texassippi Soul Man intimates that Danny Brooks’ life journey has earned him the right to sing the blues, but the optimistic beat shows he's found his sweet spot.

Four of Five Stars