" We're Onto Something "
Blues Express

Claudette King is the youngest daughter of the great B.B. King, and for her debut recording she assembles a fine unit consisting of Jim Pugh, Richard Cousins, and Steve Savage from the Robert Cray band, and Bobby Murray from Etta James. This fine recording is also co-produced by Dennis Walker, who also produced many of Cray's finest recordings.

Right out the box you know this is going to be a good one with organist Tim Brockett's "Can I Walk You To Your Car," George Brooks' horn arrangements are killer, it doesn't hurt having ex-Tower of Power trumpeter Mic Gillete on board, and Murray's scorching guitar. Murray's "Whole Lotta Nothing" continues the party with an over-the-top horn section and sultry vocals from King. Co-producers Walker and Alan Mirikitani authored the catchy title track, it's a bit popish, but well crafted, and worked well for me, checkout how Cousins really digs in here, and how the multi-faceted Mirikitani plays guitar and sax. Cray and Walker's well-known "Playing With My Friends" is yet another standout that's a bit more contemporary having a lot to do with the excellent horn charts by Brooks. Walker and Mirikitani's "A Dog Like You" is a simmering funk that's right in the pocket as is their "Boogie Some." Pugh's and Walker's "Isn't Peace The Least We Can Do" burns from end to end, Claudette is full of emotion, and the addition of the Gerald Johnson's (not the killer bass player from Steve Miller & Dave Mason) Gospel Choir really makes this track smolder. For the closing ballad "Easter Alone, " the spotlight is on King and how she extends her vocal range throughout.

In summary, this is one fine debut; I suspect it ain't easy being the daughter of the King of the Blues, yet it can't hurt either. But make no mistake; this offspring is not riding on her daddy's coattails. Here's looking towards the next Claudette King disc, which might be a hard act to follow, but since the lineage is in her genes, bring it on!

Bob Putignano: