Monday, March 28, 2011

Murali Coryell Sugar Lips - Music Review


I recently stumbled into Murali Coryell playing with Joe Louis Walker at the famous Attucks Theater and was blown away by this young mans singing and playing. He can stomp out some guitar leads and he sure as hell can sing as well. When Joe Louis Walker introduced him as Larry Coryell's son I near fell out of my chair. I searched far and wide to find some of Larry's music that would fit into my Folk and Blues show and featured an album called A Quiet Day in Spring. The title track always got the phone ringing and the other DJ's to say what was that. I knew Larry's music from his so called jazz fusion days and his essential LP, his collaboration with Emily Remler "Six Beats, Six Strings" is an outstanding number from that album, and one of my favorite LP's is "Just Like Being Born". I also own "The Coryells" a wonderful acoustic disc and "Inner Urge" both albums I can highly recommend.

I had no idea what to expect when I purchased Murali's cd during the meet and greet after the show. It had a sexy attractive cover and font that lent itself more to a smooth jazz recording so I was a little reluctant. However, after hearing Murali play and noting that Joe Louis Walker was on the album I figured the blues had to be more than covered. Knowing his Dad was on the disc as well and that he played everything and anything his embellishments would fit in nicely and be creative. So I bought the CD blind which is something I rarely do a leap of faith to say the least but Murial was so fantastic during the show I wanted to support him with at least a little gas money.

Upon loading the disc into my player I was hooked. The first number is a blistering jump blues in the tradition of Roomful of Blues boasting a big horn sound and rampaging piano courtesy of Reese Wynans of the famed Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble Band. The second tune rolls out a more smoldering blues number with plenty of guitar stretches and horn fills plus some nice wah, wah work. Do they still call it that these days?

The third cut is more of a contemporary blues number in the vein of Robert Cray. Its immediately accessible and I could see it having some cross over potential. Mothers Day follows that which is a heartfelt tribute to Murali's mother who passed away back in 2009. Kind of rough to loose a mom so young she was only in her sixties, and this song particularly speaks to the artists integrity by letting us into his world. His dad takes a lead and well if you are not moved by this song check your pulse - you have no heart.

So now all at once we have this honest talent firing off fat, smoking, crunchy, licks, stomping through the blues and ballads and baring his soul and we are only into the fourth track. The next song "What Works on You" has a stadium anthem feel to it and a soaring keyboard. Its a nice lift after Mothers Day with nice acoustic piano fills and growling guitar leads. The dude can play can you tell I'm on board.

Go ahead and pick up this disc. I read one review that compared him to John Mayer - puhhhlease Murail blows away that poser. Sugar Lips the title track has a real nice driving back beat and picks the album back up again into a blues romp and Joe Louis Walker ads his signature sound to the cut with some raunchy slide work. "I Could Have Had You" slows things back down a little bit and I think is my favorite tune. The acoustic guitar and bass add a nice texture and again I think what we are hearing is honest and that kind of credibility can not be faked or bought.

We snap right out of that nice melancholy mood with Still Rockin' a straight up 50's blues romp with Chuck Berry formed leads. Without reviewing each of the remaining songs there's plenty more to come with a great funk number, soulful singing and flourishes of his Dad's jazz riffs. They blend in seamlessly within the constructs of the songs and Murali's fired up guitar. Sugar Lips is fun, well rounded, stomp with plenty of tonal and modulated mood swings to keep repeated listening fresh track after track. And it does swing, rock and funkify your speakers.

It blew all my expectations away.

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