"Texassippi Soul Man"
His House Records
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © November 2012
I guess you can officially say that Danny Brooks is 100% Blewzz Approved. Since this is his fourth consecutive CD that I've had the pleasure of working with, it's safe to say that "The Blewzzman likes the Soul Man".
On "Texassippi Soul Man" Danny Brooks, writer of all 16 tracks, sings all the lead vocals and plays harmonica, piano, stomp board, slide, rhythm and acoustic guitars and the kitchen sink (not really but I'm betting he'd even make that sound good). His fellow musicians - who number enough to to be considered a diocese - include: Lynn Daniel on bass; Eddie Flores on drums; Brannan Lane on drums & Percussion; Kenny Grimes and Joe Forlini on guitar; Lewis Stephens on piano and B3 organ; Courtney Reed, Tammy Elskes, Eddie Flores, Mickie Lynn, Brannan Lane, Debi Middlebrook and Alec Fraser on Background vocals; and Brannan Lane, Sandy Lane, Patrick Russell, Joseph Holguin and Debi Middlebrook on hand claps.
On the opening track Danny Brooks sings about being a "Soul Man". However, that statement should not be confused with the thought you might have from hearing Sam & Dave or James Brown saying it. Oh yeah, they had soul and were some of the best soul men around but the soul Danny's proud of having is much deeper. Danny Brooks is a man from, of and about the soul.
The story behind this song is as compelling as the song. While driving home from a late night gig, Danny became overwhelmed with thoughts of pressing family matters. This, and the fact that just days earlier he had a hard time finishing a gig due to symptoms common to a heart attack, led him to ask the Lord for help. Right then, right there, the words started coming to him and before he knew it, Danny was "Shakin' My Burdens Free". The lyrics and vocals are equally soulful and the song is done with a very cool reggae beat rich in rhythm and percussion and full of harmonica highlights. This is signature Danny Brooks.
"A Better Man Than Me" is slow ballad with more powerful lyrics and emotional vocals. Giving her diamonds, expensive clothes and lavish trips may make her feel like she's got a better man, but as Danny sees it, if she wants something real - that her heart can see, then there is no better man than me. Danny and Lewis hook up nicely with the tandem keyboards.
Wanna liven up your next party? Simply put this song on as loud as you can and I promise you it will turn into a "Jubilee". Remember all those background singers and hand clappers I mentioned in the credits? Well, they're all here and they're singin' and clappin' and causin' a whole big ruckus and I'm lovin' it all. The lyrics are screaming spirituality, the music is screaming gospel and it's all got me screaming wild. Best track of the disc and possibly the best track Danny's ever done. This is one of those 32 minute long 4 minute songs, if ya know what I mean.
Danny has no problem admitting to a dark past and the reason he believes that the key word in that sentence is "past" is because his "Mama Prayed". This song is a tribute to her and all the other loving, praying mothers in the world. Tight rhythm from Lynn and Brannan fuels this country/Gospel/folk hybrid that features strong harp and guitar leads by Danny and Kenny.
This song is about an actual event that took place in Danny's life. He was at that frail age of thirteen and, as long ago as that was, he just can't forget "The Night Hank Williams Let Me Down". Doing what he thought would be cool, he called this girl he had a crush on and over the phone he played her his favorite Hank Williams song - and doing a heck of a job at it as he did indeed claim. Once he picked the phone back up the dial tone told him she didn't think he nailed it as much as he did. Welcome to the insecure feelings common with the puberty years, Danny. Just for the record, Danny did nail this song about that song.
Other tracks on "Texassippi Soul Man", which totals over seventy minutes of great stuff, include: "Can't Stop Riding This Train" "Let it Rain", "Trouble Me No More", "Hard Workin' Man", "Runnin' With The Best Of Them", "I Wanna Be With You", "Something Gotta Hold On Me", "Middle Of A Miracle", "You're The Best Thing About Me" and "Caught A Fire".
As with most of Danny Brooks' music, "Texassippi Soul Man" is one of those discs that - regardless of the type of music you're into - anyone will like it. Great songs, great musicians and great feelings from, of and about the soul.
Please check Danny out at www.dannybrooksmusic.com and when you do, tell him brother Blewzzman sent ya.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient