Toni Price
"Talk Mempis "
Antones Records

Talking Memphis, But All About Austin, Too, (10/18/07)

Toni Price's Talk Memphis is one fine recording, as this full-throated vocalist rarely compromises the images of her music. Talk Memphis is definitely a real-deal gutsy CD that should garner its share of airplay around the dial, satellite, and Internet.

Unfortunately, a lack of touring has limited Price's national awareness, but that's only makes this lady a diamond-in-the-rough discovery for those who come across her neat mix of Blues, Soul, and Funk. The title of Price's CD is a bit confusing in that there are nods to Memphis' Booker T., Eddie Floyd's "Sorry About That," and Isaac Hayes' "Left Over Love." But Miss Price takes us on a whirlwind tour down to New Orleans on the great Allen Toussaint's "Mean Man," Ashford & Simpson's "Runnin' Out," and even covers Jesse Winchester's "Talk Memphis," which is the opening and title track. Make no mistake though, as this very fine recording is a total Austin production right down to Price's longtime producer and very gifted guitarist Derek O'Brien and their topnotch assembly of the crème de la crème of Austin's finest musicians, which also includes the dynamite Texas Horns (John Mills, Kaz Kazanoff, and Al Gomez).

Standout tunes include the sassy, in-your-face title track; the riveting and rocking "What I'm Puttin Down" (which offers the stunning and snarling guitar work of David Grissom); the grooving "Gravy;" and, the Funk on "Mean Man" And you will definitely love the Texas Horns' punch on the bluesy "Runnin' Out." All of this is served up and delivered with the strong vocals of Toni Price who also co-produced this excellent recording.

Price's publicist Mark Pucci tells me that Price recently moved out west to San Diego, but geographically and musically speaking, Talk Memphis is all about Austin's too often overlooked dynamite scene and American roots sounds. Hats off to Antone's Records for keeping this groove jiving and thriving!

Bob Putignano: