Fame/Mark S Tucker
Danny Brooks 'Texassippi Soul Man
Danny Brooks is one of those cats who transcend idioms, genres, and stylistic cages, blending rock and roll, soul, blues, and Americana (even as quintessentially Canadian as he is) in a brew that's heady as hell and impossible to resist. When he calls himself a soul man, it's neither boast nor PR strategy but just the plain truth. He in fact has a lot in common with Johnny Winter, prime period Lee Michaels, and by all rights would likely have gotten righteously together with Mike Bloomfield, had that unfortunate lived long enough. I can only imagine, and drool, at what might have occurred had such a miracle transpired: an Electric Flag with Danny Brooks? Hoooo-eeee! Texassippi Soul Man is the guy's latest, and I've reviewed him twice in these pages (here and here) but was really riveted by the live Palais Royale release a little while ago. Texassippi, then, emerges at the end of 2012 to find his perfect mid-point between studio and stage incarnations.
Brooks hides his Christian viewpoint not a whit, never has since he was salvaged. Winging firmly back from a hurtling fall saved the gent from the place where the crimson guy with the horns and pointy trident does his work, and that only jumped up Brooks' own efforts work to the next level 'cause he ain't one of these door-knocking zombies we're all too familiar with but rather a cat on fire to lend a helping hand to the down and out…and what better embodies the essence of the blues, personal or social, than that? Nor is he a slickered-up preacher type, what with all that hair down past his shoulders, leathers, cowboy hat, and shades. No, you can't pigeon-hole Mama Brooks' boy and feel safe about it.
In Texassippi, the emphasis is on all the above plus a strong sense of congregation, of an earthy meeting of the spirit with swing, slide, harmonica, and allsorts along with not a little country tossed in for good measure (catch the infectious Mama Prayed, a prime cut). Brooks knows how to play that spangly axe he wields and recruits several other fretbenders to assist, providing all kinds of licks within a stompin' bootscootin' milieu. Not a whole lot of balladry here, y'all, but when things do mellow down, as in I Wanna be with You, it's jes' a mite eerie and wistful. Otherwise, get yer dancing shoes or cowpoke boots on 'cause you're in for over 70 minutes of boogie, after which you'll need a lil' sit-me-down to catch yer breath…before jumping back up to do it all over again.
Daniel in the Lions Den
Daniel being Danny Brooks, and the music industry being The Lion, we all know the rest of the story I hope.
Todays movie industry should be seriously looking at this artists music as work that should be included in their sound tracks. Relevant, to the heart, positve, with hope and the success of having hope, is what he sings of. Sam Cook has nothing on this guy. He has it on him.
Wake up Hollywood. Danny Brooks can write your music . But for now, he werites his. Goose bumps man, this guy raises em when he sings.
Mary4Music / Peter Lauro
Danny Brooks 'Texassippi Soul Man / HIS House Records
I guess you can officially say that Danny Brooks is 100% Blewzz Approved. Since this is his fourth consecutive CD that I've had the pleasure of working with, it's safe to say that "The Blewzzman likes the Soul Man".
On "Texassippi Soul Man" Danny Brooks, writer of all 16 tracks, sings all the lead vocals and plays harmonica, piano, stomp board, slide, rhythm and acoustic guitars and the kitchen sink (not really but I'm betting he'd even make that sound good). His fellow musicians - who number enough to to be considered a diocese - include: Lynn Daniel on bass; Eddie Flores on drums; Brannan Lane on drums & Percussion; Kenny Grimes and Joe Forlini on guitar; Louis Stephens on piano and B3 organ; Courtney Reed, Tammy Elskes, Eddie Flores, Mickie Lynn, Brannan Lane, Debi Middlebrook and Alec Fraser on Background vocals; and Brannan Lane, Sandy Lane, Patrick Russell, Joseph Holguin and Debi Middlebrook on hand claps.
On the opening track Danny Brooks sings about being a "Soul Man". However, that statement should not be confused with the thought you might have from hearing Sam & Dave or James Brown saying it. Oh yeah, they had soul and were some of the best soul men around but the soul Danny's proud of having is much deeper. Danny Brooks is a man from, of and about the soul.
The story behind this song is as compelling as the song. While driving home from a late night gig, Danny became overwhelmed with thoughts of pressing family matters. This, and the fact that just days earlier he had a hard time finishing a gig due to symptoms common to a heart attack, led him to ask the Lord for help. Right then, right there, the words started coming to him and before he knew it, Danny was "Shakin' His Burdens Free". The lyrics and vocals are equally soulful and the song is done with a very cool reggae beat rich in rhythm and percussion and full of harmonica highlights. This is signature Danny Brooks.
"A Better Man Than Me" is slow ballad with more powerful lyrics and emotional vocals. Giving her diamonds, expensive clothes and lavish trips may make her feel like she's got a better man, but as Danny sees it, if she wants something real - that her heart can see, then there is no better man than me. Danny and Lewis hook up nicely with the tandem keyboards.
Wanna liven up your next party? Simply put this song on as loud as you can and I promise you it will turn into a "Jubilee". Remember all those background singers and hand clappers I mentioned in the credits? Well, they're all here and they're singin' and clappin' and causin' a whole big ruckus and I'm lovin' it all. The lyrics are screaming spirituality, the music is screaming gospel and it's all got me screaming wild. Best track of the disc and possibly the best track Danny's ever done. This is one of those 32 minute long 4 minute songs, if ya know what I mean.
Danny has no problem admitting to a dark past and the reason he believes that the key word in that sentence is "past" is because his "Mama Prayed". This song is a tribute to her and all the other loving, praying mothers in the world. Tight rhythm from Lynn and Brannan fuels this country/Gospel/folk hybrid that features strong harp and guitar leads by Danny and Kenny.
This song is about an actual event that took place in Danny's life. He was at that frail age of thirteen and, as long ago as that was, he just can't forget "The Night Hank Williams Let Him Down". Doing what he thought would be cool, he called this girl he had a crush on and over the phone he played her his favorite Hank Williams song - and doing a heck of a job at it as he did indeed claim. Once he picked the phone back up the dial tone told him she didn't think he nailed it as much as he did. Welcome to the insecure feelings common with the puberty years, Danny. Just for the record, Danny did nail this song about that song.
Other tracks on "Texassippi Soul Man", which totals over seventy minutes of great stuff, include: "Can't Stop Riding This Train" "Let it Rain", "Trouble Me No More", "Hard Workin' Man", "Runnin' With The Best Of Them", "I Wanna Be With You", "Something Gotta Hold On Me", "Middle Of A Miracle", "You're The Best Thing About Me" and "Caught A Fire".
As with most of Danny Brooks' music, "Texassippi Soul Man" is one of those discs that - regardless of the type of music you're into - anyone will like it. Great songs, great musicians and great feelings from, of and about the soul.
Please check Danny out at www.dannybrooksmusic.com and when you do, tell him brother Blewzzman sent ya.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient
Danny Brooks 'Something Gotta Hold On Me'
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 07, 2013
"Something Gotta Hold On Me" - Danny Brooks
“Something Gotta Hold On Me”
From the His House CD Texassippi Soul Man (2012)
By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.
When someone asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he is alleged to have answered, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Similarly, should someone ask Ontario-born singer-songwriter and guitarist Danny Brooks why he moved to Texas, he’s likely to answer, “Because that’s where the roots music is.”
Deep inside Danny Brooks beats the heart of a Delta bluesman. He has relocated to Texas to pursue his craft in the company of like-minded souls. His latest album, Texassippi Soul Man, chronicles the physical and psychological journey in its lyrics and music. To harmonica, slide guitar, pounding drums, bass, and an occasional tambourine, Brooks sings with so much grit, you'd think he drank a bottle of rattlesnake juice. He looks and plays like the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. The result is an amalgam of country, blues, and gospel that the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals made a living out of recording, and is now sometimes referred to as Americana.
On “Caught the Fire,” Brooks name checks his musical heroes, from B.B. King and Hank Williams to Sam Cooke and Little Richard, and thanks the Lord that “the whole soul clan did a number on me.” Right there is an indication of the swirl of styles that inform Brooks’ music.
While the majority of the tracks are love songs or pay tribute to roots music heroes, and are therefore somewhat outside the scope of this blog, “Something Gotta Hold On Me” is decidedly inspirational. The tempo moves from loping to Baptist shout to Pentecostal tempo. In the liner notes, Brooks—who has in the past recorded many a rootsy gospel number—announced he wants “to send this song to the Blind Boys of Alabama.” I hope he has.
Another gospel number is “Mama Prayed,” a Southern country-fried and Opry-ready song where Mama’s fervent prayers rescue her son from “needle, spoon and shame.”
Texassippi Soul Man intimates that Danny Brooks’ life journey has earned him the right to sing the blues, but the optimistic beat shows he's found his sweet spot.
Four of Five Stars
Posted by Bob Marovich at 6:54 PM