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The Mercy Brothers - Strange Adventure

Strange Adventure

The Mercy Brothers

CoraZong Records - 255 093

Available from CoraZong Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb
(taoboy@cox.net)

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Strange Adventure is a rather strange mix, that at times shows some great promise and at other times leaves one shaking their head saying, "Why? It's been done so many time before, and with some real passion." That is going to be a key word, you can call it passion, feeling, conviction, or whatever fits your language schema, but there are great lapses of it on this disc. It's funny; Barrence Whitfield's reputation as a soulful singer preceded him, so there was some anticipation when the disc arrived. He can scream and holler with the best of them, however his voice doesn't carry the conviction of any of the top notch, or even the middle level soul or blues singers. It lacks sincerity when he attempts it; his voice carries more sincerity and truth when he is singing and not attempting to be a soul belter, as was Sam Cooke or even Taj Mahal. When he tries for that soulful stretch he loses the solidity and conviction of his voice. Songs such as I Believe I'll Make A Change, or, The New Year Blues, which don't require that stretching of the voice work and are very good. In fact the latter is one of the highlights of the disc with some very nicely balanced guitar playing form Michael Dinallo. On Broke Down Engine, Mr. Whitfield lets his voice slip into what might be called a rough sandpapery blues voice of the tired old singer and doesn't attempt any screams or moans and the sincerity holds up fine, it is a delicate balance and one that is difficult.

The rest of the band is quite good and solid, being led by Michael Dinallo on guitars on all of the sets. The first ten songs were a self released done in the studio, the next six were recorded live in Norway, and the last song is a studio demo. The music is a blending of country blues with the soul side of the R&B spectrum. There is promise however the highlights on this disc a too far apart.

Track List:

  • Another Man Done Gone
  • Stay Away From My Door
  • Down That Road
  • I Believe I'll Make A Change
  • The New Year Blues
  • Broke Down Engine
  • Working On The Line
  • Night Train To Memphis
  • Misery Train
  • Mr. Johnson
Bonus tracks recorded live at Muddy Waters, Oslo, Norway
  • Long Black Train
  • California Stars
  • The New Year Blues
  • Down That Road
  • Misery Train
  • Pallet On The Floor
Studio bonus track
  • Tennessee Blues

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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