If what you want is solid blues and soul from a champion piano player who lit up the Louisiana blues/soul scene in the 70s, Bobby Powell is your man. As notable a vocalist as he was a piano player, Powell’s contributions are captured here in all their splendor by AIM Soul of Australia.
Powell opens with a capturing king-sized blues gem called "Queen Size Woman," a piece that’s a little sexually suggestive but vocally powerful nonetheless (check out his long-winded note about midway through the song!). His handling of the blues is consistently solid, as is demonstrated, in addition to track 1, on "When You Move You Lose," "A Fool For You," and the legendary Ray Charles’ "Night Time Is the Right Time." Of course, Ray still holds the belt for the latter, in my opinion.
Powell’s R&B offerings are equally as omnipresent. "Let Me Love You," which could remind one of the powerful voices of Eddie and Gerald Levert, and "Spread Your Love," are highly effective. You have to marvel at Powell's vocal range and wonder if he wasn't one of the models for the likes of Phil Perry and others who can climb the scale at the speed of light. I would be totally remiss if I overlooked his stirring version of "Glory of Love." My favorite version has always been that from Otis Redding, but Powell may just run a strong second here.
I really wish that AIM had provided a listing of the stellar musicians who accompanied Powell on these recordings. Not even the Web could provide such details. I’d love to acknowledge them personally for such an exceptional display of talent. Well, here’s to that anonymous group, just the same!
A muscular combination of style, vocals, musicianship, and quality material makes this project a true stand-out, worthy of accolades from today’s critics, pro and con. This is blues/R&B that should serve as an inspiring model for up-and-coming musicians and vocalists everywhere.