FAME Review: Roy Gaines & His Orchestra - Tuxedo Blues
Roy Gaines & His Orchestra - Tuxedo Blues

Tuxedo Blues

Roy Gaines & His Orchestra

Black Gold Records - BGR001237

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

So's ya know, that was Roy Gaines you saw in The Color Purple playing Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)", which also appears here. He's been around for a while (at 72, the big gent looks to be only in his mid-50s), is well respected, and loves big band and swing, so what you get in Tuxedo Blues is a blend of those two time-honored institutions with the even older mode of blues -- and we are talking serious BIG band here, a well populated ensemble that counts Joe Sample and Wilton Felder from the immortal Crusaders among its membership.

Half the songs on Tuxedo were penned or co-written by Gaines, and he sings all of them while playing a guitar somewhat after the style of his idol, T-Bone Walker, though oft sounding closer to B.B. King. The guy started at 14, playing piano a la Nat King Cole, but then he met Walker, and that was it. 1956 saw his emergence as a band leader and, from that point on, it was just a matter of what he decided to do: blues, swing, film scores, jazz, you name it. Gaines is, however, most known for his blues, and they form his legacy.

There's a lot of The Apollo Theater and F. Scott Fitzgerald in this CD as well, not to mention Ellington, Rushing, Big Joe Turner, and others. A number of arrangers, Leslie Drayton among them, work hard to shine up each track to lustrous refinement, making Tuxedo Blues high-tone, strictly uptown, with tons of class, and a swagger in music full of pealing horns and the sweet airs of yesteryear, a style that never quite goes out, constantly revivified precisely due to releases just like this one.

Track List:

  • Send for Me (Ollie Jones)
  • Blues from Hell (Gaines / Scott / Gaines)
  • Good Old Days (Roy Gaines)
  • Rats in my Kitchen (Roy Gaines)
  • Thang Shaker (Roy Gaines)
  • Inflation Blues (Southern / Alexander / Jordan)
  • Miss Celie's Blues (Sister) (Jones / Temperton / Richie)
  • Come Home (Gaines / Frank)
  • Reggae Woman (Calypso Blues) (Cole / Nathaniel / George /
  • Rock with You (Rod Temperton)
  • Route 66 (Bobby Troup)
  • Outside Lookin' In (Roy Gaines)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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