Review: Soul man Bramblett gives average folks a voice

On “Pine Needle Fire,” Georgia soul man Randall Bramblett’s warm, weathered tenor gives voice to average folks who are hanging on, and he provides a beat to keep them going.

Bramblett laments mortality, the rat race, co-dependency and misplaced passion. His solution? Dance those blues away.

Nearly everything comes with an irresistible groove, as has been the case for most of Bramblett’s 45-year recording career. He and his crack crew of studio musicians do swampy, sweaty, Southern-fried funk, and like a great bar band they’re both loose and tight, while riding a gospel undercurrent. The chorus to the opening tune, “Some Poor Soul,” echoes “Amazing Grace,” and there are several songs of secular inspiration.

Nick Johnson contributes stinging guitar, and horns — including Bramblett’s tenor sax — add momentum. The result is a succession of toe-tappers and hip-shakers with singalong chorus.

“Built to Last” lives up to its title, thanks to a six-note rock riff as its foundation. “Rocket to Nowhere” swings with Steely Dan-style syncopation, references “Kid Charlemagne” and serves up a Fagen-esque aside: “At least they didn’t look in the glove compartment.”

Imagine a world where musicians play concerts: These songs would have folks on their feet.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Entertainment News | Music News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up