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Doyle BRAMHALL – Fitchburg Street 2003

Posted in BLUES, Doyle BRAMHALL on December 7, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Doyle BRAMHALL – Fitchburg Street 2003

Blues

You may not realize it, but not only do you probably know Doyle Bramhall — you love him! Drummer, singer, songwriter and impresario Doyle Bramhall was/is the writer or co-writer of most of the great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s hits from the 1980s. Bramhall had his hand in “Dirty Pool,& quot; “House Is Rockin’,” “Life By The Drop,” “Hard To Be,” “Long Way From Home” and “Change It.” Bramhall has also played drums on and produced Marcia Ball’s Presumed Innocent and appeared on Lou Ann Barton’s Dreams Come True CDs. He also has contributed songs to Brian Setzer, Roomful of Blues, Melvin Taylor and Storyville. Bramhall, along with Vaughan grew up in the tough, lower middle-class neighborhoods of West Dallas. He lived on the street that serves as the inspiration for the album’s title.

Fitchburg Street leads off with the classic John Lee Hooker song “Dimples.” Bramhall also delivers scorching versions of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Forty Four,” Jimmy Reed’s & quot;Baby What You Want Me To Do,” and O.V. Wright’s “Blind, Crippled and Crazy.” The ten songs on the disc seem to represent the music of his youth, the music that has shaped his style. Bramhall has applied some of his own touches to the album. His version of “Life By The Drop” is a barn-burner (while Vaughan’s version was acoustic). The rest of this amazing CD consists of well known blues songs given the Bramhall signature production technique. The Band Of Gypsys’ “Changes,” as well as & quot;That’s How Strong My Love Is” and “Maudie,” another Hooker oldie, sound as fresh and vital as they did when they were first recorded 30 to 50 years ago.

Helped by numerous guest guitarists including his son Doyle Bramhall II, Fitchburg Street is this year’s sleeper blues CD. Much like the early reception of Jimmie Vaughan’s 2001 Grammy-winner Do You Get The Blues? , this release seems to be flying below the radar. Let’s hope that, like Jimmie’s album, Fitchburg Street gets the attention and accolades it deserves.
By Mike Perciaccante.
**
It’s impossible to hear Doyle Bramhall’s swaggering rendition of “Life by the Drop” without thinking of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Not only is the Bramhall original strongly associated with Vaughan (whose posthumously released recording provided a poignant memorial), but Bramhall’s gritty, smoky vocals were plainly the major influence on Vaughan’s singing. The second CD by this veteran singer-songwriter-drummer celebrates the blues legacy that he and Vaughan share, with the guitar virtuosity of son Doyle II and the raucous harmonica of Gary Primich powering such highlights as John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Sugar (Where You’d Get Your Sugar From).” There’s no new material from Bramhall (“Life by the Drop” is the only original), and the jamming on familiar fare such as Buddy Miles’s “Changes” and Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” borders on bar-band excess, but the soulful renewal of “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and “It Ain’t No Use” reaffirms Bramhall as a Texas treasure. Somewhere, Stevie’s smiling.
By Don McLeese.
**
Everyone here seems to be in agreement that Fitchburg Street is an amazing record. All the songs are great, there’s something special about each one. The band rocks — 10 pts for Bramhall II and Dru Webber on guitars, and Mike Judge on bass and Bramhall’s vocals are the best part of listening. What prompted writing this review happened the other afternoon when my 15 year old sister was listening to “That’s How Strong My Love Is.” She looked up at me and said, “This guy really means it. Who is this?”
If anything, what this album has done is made a deeper blues fan out of me. I’ve started listening to the musicians who originally wrote these songs and acquiring a much broader blues-base than the post-Stevie renaissance. Fitchburg Street, while totally contemporary, urges history urges you to look into the original recordings and get involved with earlier blues
**
Doyle Bramhall’s second offering is a great batch of cover tunes that fit so well to Doyle’s swaggering vocals that they seem more like originals. John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” which I first heard by the Animals and then Spencer Davis Group is knee deep in electric blues. “I’d Rather Be Blind Crippled & Crazy” which bluesman Phillip Walker nailed on his 1998 “Sweet Tooth” CD pulses with great energy in Bramhall’s hands. “Changes” is a great churning storm of guitar. In 1966 when the Hollies enchanted me with their album “Beat Group!,” they included one tune whose melody repeatedly winds up on my turntable and that Doyle recasts here as a classic slow soul song, “That’s How Strong My Love Is.” Since the song has been one of my favorites for many years, it’s great to hear it dusted off and given such an expressive performance. Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” is made to march with Dru Webber’s lively guitar throbbing throughout. Although I’ve enjoyed Gary U.S. Bonds from early rock days to his incarnation as Bruce Springsteen buddy, “It Ain’t No Use” is newly encountered. Its stately blues smokes slowly with Doyle’s vocal swagger. My second encounter with “Maudie” since the Animals’ “Animalization” works well as a trad blues shuffle. “Fitchburg Street” is a great second set from Doyle Bramhall that consistently smokes & throbs knee deep in the blues. Enjoy!
By Lee Armstrong.
**
Doyle Bramhall began his music career on Fitchburg Street in Dallas, and on his album of the same name he applies a healthy slathering of Texas style to some rock, blues, and soul songs from his youth (and one of his own creations). It’s a recipe for a raw, messy, and delicious delight for fans of rough-and-tumble bar band blues. Bramhall’s style of Texas blues sounds a lot like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and with good reason Bramhall influenced the Vaughan style, having co-wrote some of Vaughan’s hits, including Life by the Drop. While Vaughan played it as a soul-wrenching acoustic number on the posthumous The Sky Is Crying, Bramhall picks up the pace to make it a full-throttle rocker. Bramhall’s voice is even reminiscent of Vaughan’s on many tracks. His vocals are a joyful noise — what he lacks in talent he makes up for with feeling. He sings with so much enthusiasm on I’d Rather Be (Blind, Crippled & Crazy) that you can’t help but want to sing along. As befits a Texas blues album, each song features excellent guitar work, and the star guitar belongs to Bramhall’s son, Doyle Bramhall II. Doyle the younger plays a mean rhythm guitar and his tone often sounds stolen directly from Vaughan. His shuffle playing on John Lee Hooker’s Dimples is a dead ringer for Vaughan, while his interpretation of the Band of Gypsies’ Changes shows that he has some imagination and style of his own. Bramhall’s son plays on four tracks, and they shine the most, although the other guitarists and numerous musicians on the album (Bramhall has a lot of friends, it seems) play as tightly as any veteran bar band, held together by Bramhall’s solid drumming. The only exception comes on Sugar (Where’d You Get Your Sugar From), where Dave Sebree’s sloppy slide goes a bit too far out of tune (try a second take next time, guys). But that small misstep can’t taint this fun journey through Bramhall’s musical memories.
**
Doyle Bramhall- Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Wayne  Jackson- Trumpet, Horn Arrangements
Paul Klemperer- Sax (Tenor)
Riley Osbourne- Piano, Hammond Organ
Lewis Stephens- Piano, Hammond Organ
Gary Primich- Harmonica
Jon Peebles- Guitar
Casper Rawls- Acoustic Guitar
Tom Reynolds- Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Doyle Bramhall II- Guitar
Robin Syler- Bass, Guitar
Dave Ferman- Rhythm Guitar
Bodhran Dave Sebree- Rhythm Guitar
Mike Judge- Bass
Roscoe Beck- Bass
Jim Milan- Bass
Susan Abbott- Bckgrnd Vocals
Chris Hunter- Drums
**
01. Dimples 4:06
02. I’d Rather Be 3:54
03. Changes 5:57
04. Life By The Drop 3:05
05. That’s How Strong My Love Is 4:16
06. Baby What you Want me to do 4:11
07. It Ain’t No Use 4:28
08. Maudie 3:30
09. Fourty Four 5:50
10. Sugar 4:00
**

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