Jimmy Morello
Can't Be Denied
JSP 287
There's an agreeable time-warp factor present on Can't Be Denied that's partially the result of the tube-type amps used in its making and the inclusion of an acoustic bass (a very welcome trend), but primarily due to Morello's songs, which hark back to the '40s and '50s, when men like Roy Brown and Big Joe Turner ruled the roost.

Morello, who debuted nationally a couple years ago as the vocalist on Pat Boyack and the Prowlers' two Bullseye Blues discs, has a big voice that he uses with great effect. Whether doing "I Read Your Letter," a sequel to Roy Brown's "Letter From Home," in Brown's crying style or booming out his homage to Turner ("Mercy, Miss Percy") and the uptempo jump blues he personified -- with spectacular backing by pianist Tom Mahon and guitarists Jeff Ross and Paul Bryant -- Morello doesn't hit one false note.

A native of Pittsburgh, Morello and his band toured for three years with Louisiana Red before he wound up leading, drumming and singing in an R&B band in Sacramento, California, for several years. He joined Bill Tarsha's Rocket 88s in Phoenix, where he gained valuable experience backing up Nappy Brown, Big Jay McNeely and Joe Houston.

Here he's surrounded himself with L.A. players whose chops are as terrific as their resumes: Ross, Bryant, bassist Rick Reed and drummer Paul Fasulo have worked with William Clarke, while Mahon's gigged with guitarist Jr. Watson. Recommended.

-- Miles Jordan

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Boulder, CO, USA.