" One Drop Is Plenty "

Pairing Norway's Knut Reiersrud and his band with the legendary USA blues and soul man Mighty Sam McClain works remarkably well on this strong outing. The liner notes indicate that McClain met Reiersrud in Norway at the Notodden Blues Fest in 2010 and they decided to record a seventies sounding soul album. But this is not McClain and Reiersrud's first collaboration, McClain previously recorded on Reiersrud's '08 Scent Of A Reunion along with the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat.

Some of the many highlights include Reiersrud and his longtime co-author Jeff Wasserman's "Life" that opens the disc. This song is very well suited for McClain and sets the tone that this album is going to be one mighty fine soulful affair. McClain's "Can You Stand The Test Of Love" is old-schooled soul. The Norwegian band is more than up to task; there are great hooks, Reiersrud's guitar fills are exquisite and tasteful, and Bjorn Holm's rhythm guitar is also engaging. McClain takes the recently deceased Jerry Ragovoy's powerful classic "You Don't Know Nothing About Love" deep down in the soul. Behind McClain, the band oozes with authentic soul grooves, Knut also fires a dynamite guitar solo, and the ending is soft with swirling keyboard antics from David Wallumrod. Reiersrud and Wasserman's funky "Sweet Soft Kisses In The Rain" features drummer Andreas Bye in the pocket, Wallumrod's delightful B-3, and bassist Nikolai Haengsle Eilertsen playing like he was a Muscle Shoals musician while Mighty Sam delivers the goods. Similarly McClain's "Love One Another" is another funky gem, with Reiersrud's heady slide guitar sounding a bit like Derek Trucks. The closing "Open Up Heaven's Doors," authored by McClain, is a slow gospel tinged tune with soulful B-3 from David Wallumrod.

For the most part this album is amazingly solid, Reiersrud's band sounds like they been backing McClain for years, and the effervescent Mighty Sam is in excellent vocal form throughout. Kudos to producers Reiersrud and Erik Hillestad who have made this album work so well. Last but not least, the sound quality is superb from end to end - a quality project all the way around. (Read their conversation in this issue's Knee To Knee.) - Bob Putignano

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com