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Booker T - Sound the Alarm

  by Lisa Torem

published: 16 / 8 / 2013

Booker T - Sound the Alarm
Label: Decca
Format: CD


First-rate new album from soul legend Booker T., which includes guest appearances from among others Vintage Trouble, Gary Clark Jr., and his son Ted Jones

If you pick the best of the best, you know the rest. Booker T. Jones has gathered a rock solid line-up of songwriters, percussionists, guitarists and vocalists to add grace and beauty to an album, which seamlessly blends the present with the past. Mayer Hawthorne interprets the theme song of 'Sound the Alarm'. It’s a perfect fit. The almost four-minute song is marvellously funky and tight. “I can make it rain,” Mayer sings in the most uplifting way above a resounding choir. The finger-snapping vitality contributes to the already positive appeal as Booker T.'s riffs craftily stream in and out of the vocals. Luke James is another star whose voice matches well the material. ‘All Over the Place’ has a classic R & B appeal. His silky tenor recalls the best of the Stax legends. ‘Fun’ is brimming with brass. The gospel-tinged instrumental screams, “Let’s party till the cows come home.” But when the chips are down, the album reaches out with an appropriate song about unrequited love. ‘Broken Heart’ features the outstanding Jay James. This truly soulful ballad inspires nostalgia. His timbre evokes a simpler time before music was mass-produced. “My love was vandalized and I apologize…” - that says it all. Booker T.’s hypnotic groove on ‘Feel Good’ is as compelling as those on his early classics - another blend of the contemporary with classic roots. ‘Gently’ features Anthony Hamilton, who also serves up a healthy measure of philosophy – “We’ve got a long road and a short time to get there.” With a contagious beat and a seductive twang, Gary Clark Jr. and Booker T. meet in the middle. The two build and develop an animated conversation sans words, but the message rings loud and clear. Estelle’s light and airy vocals soar over industrial bytes in ‘Can’t Wait,’ a song about “a new day and possibilities” and “this moment that can’t be replaced.” Another toe-tapping instrumental, ’66 Impala’ features the Latin sure footedness of Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E. Poncho and Booker T. They worked together as session musicians at Stax Records, and their experiencer speaks volumes. This time Booker T. sings an awesome duet with Kori Withers, the daughter of Booker’s old friend, Bill Withers, for whom he produced records. The result is all consuming and brilliantly romantic. ‘Your Love is No Love’ features the powerhouse arrangement of LA-based Vintage Trouble. Heartbreak is dignified through airtight lyrics and a sweeping, dreamy melody, with multi-range tenor Ty Taylor at the helm. A decidedly 1950's feel serves as a backdrop for the closing instrumental, ‘Father Son Blues.’ Booker T. on organ, with his talented son Ted on electric guitar, makes you feel like your troubles never existed and like they’re playing exclusively for you and yours.

Track Listing:-
1 Sound Of The Alarm
2 All Over The Place
3 Fun
4 Broken Heart
5 Feel Good
6 Gently
7 Austin City Blues
8 Can't Wait
9 66 Impala
10 Your Love Is No Love
11 Watch You Sleeping
12 Father Son Blues

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