" Stomp The Floor "
Delta Grove Records
One of the last of his generation, (12/23/09)
Arthur Adams is one of those rare and unique cats that have straddled the Blues, soul and jazz boundaries. He's recorded with the Crusaders, done solo albums for Tommy LiPuma's Blue Thumb records, Fantasy Records, and one for Blind Pig that included a track with B.B. King, not an easy feat. Very few of his recordings have demonstrated that in-between dexterity. Phil Upchurch, Freddy Robinson, and perhaps (a less funky) Ronnie Earl come to mind of those who have been able to genre-bend like Arthur. But unlike the previously mentioned musicians, Arthur possesses high quality and very soulful vocal skills.
Stomp the Floor is yet another quality recording by this always in and out-of-focus veteran, his seventh solo recording in a thirty-seven-year span. Stomp the Floor delivers the grits, both on vocal tracks and, more impressively, with its instrumental offerings. Adams turns sixty-nine on Christmas day, 2009, yet this venerable pro show no signs of slowing down, as he consistently orchestrates timeless recordings. For example, check out the oozing soul on "I Know What You Mean" which is not a tune that a rookie can create pulling influences like Earl Palmer, Dennis Coffee, James Jamerson, the aforementioned Phil Upchurch and session work for the great Quincy Jones.
Check out the often covered "Love and Peace" authored by Adams that appears on Quincy's Walking In Space recording or, better yet, Upchurch's rendition on his classic Darkness, Darkness Blue Thumb release. "So Sweet" is another fine example of Arthur's understanding of soul and groove with superb and well thought out bridges.
The first instrumental makes its appearance on the sixth track, "You Got That Right." It's so funky that it could have easily been covered by his former bosses the Crusaders. "Callin' Heaven" is an instant classic with its Blues lyrics that display the struggles of a black Blues man, and it's so sweet. "Thrive On Your Vibe' is extremely positive with its lyric and delivery offering heady changes. Arthur's excellent vocal makes this one of the strongest tracks on Stomp the Floor making me wonder why this was buried at track nine.
I'm an instrumental guy who digs the shear beauty of "Around the Sun" with its simplistic and smart vibe that exemplifies Adam's gorgeous guitar tone and sweet (yet concise) solo workouts that also possesses an intriguing ending. No simplistic fade here.
The best was left for last on the finale, another instrumental, "Blues Roots," that really portrays Arthur's feel for music, not necessarily Blues, but steeped in Blues and soul. This is what Adams' is all about: that blending of soul-Blues with a hint of jazz, a rare quality that I would like to hear from others in Blues. Little Milton had similar qualities. The previously mentioned Upchurch did, too. B.B could easily sit in here as well, yet Adams' is best suited and most comfortable here. My only complaint is that he was not allowed a little more time to break out and jam.
Kudos to Delta Groove for giving Arthur Adams another shot at fame. He deserves to be heard! But next time - and I pray there is a next time - let Arthur loose. This guy can roar with the best. His powerful performance at Michael Cloeren's Pocono Blues Fest years ago proved that to me. As Arthur is nearly the last of his generation of blues-soul-funk players left on this planet, keeping his ageless youth on recording after recording never feels dull or stale. It's unbelievable how Adams' somehow manages to honestly stay true to his well-defined positive vibe that always sounds fresh. Keep on keeping on, Arthur Adams. We need more of your unique soulful roux of the Blues.
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: email@example.com
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com