Al Basile takes a tremendous amount of pride in his words and music. The words, in very definitive sense, shape the music’s personality of the well-known art form called the blues. The blues is a way of life and the stories told are usually about the person singing them or someone that they knew. It is all about the human condition. Basile has a long history of making the blues sing and dance off his lips and through his excellent musicianship as a coronet player. His vocal style is very similar to Robert Cray’s, warm and inviting. One of his lifelong partners in the blues game is legendary guitar man Duke Robillard. Duke helps to make this recording a very special event.
Basile takes a lifetime of the blues and musical education, both writing and playing, and puts it all into this one rock of Gibraltar blues festival and calls it Blue Ink. It sure did not hurt having Duke and his band available for the sessions. His piercing guitar licks make each song weep the tears of the blues while Jerry Portnoy’s harp (whose resume includes playing with Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton) answers the calling of the guitar parts in one synchronous beat of the heart, which in essence is the entire band as a working entity. Basile’s phrasing is exceptional on this recording and he takes you through each style of the blues with passion and soul. As he says so eloquently on the back cover of the CD booklet, "Blue ink, indelible, repeats and changes in the air back to a bird." He certainly is a poet, and one that has decided to make music, and we can all be thankful for that. Once you hear this classic rendering of white boy blues, you will come to understand, trust me.
This is an outstanding album from start to finish. All 13 tracks are especially for you, the individual listener. Basile truly makes you feel like he is singing every song to you specifically. Each track takes on its own personality and characteristic, and every note has the emotion of the blues inside, thanks to the highly intelligible lyrics and vocalizations by Basile. The musicianship is beyond reproach and an equal match for the singer’s style and approach. This is a sure fire best of 2005 album, so do not let it slip on by.