Joe McBride and the Texas Rhythm Club – Keepin’ It Real

Joe McBride and the Texas Rhythm Club
Keepin’ It Real

(Heads up – 2002)
by Carmen Miller

“Woke Up This Morning” is surprisingly good for a cover. For those that don’t know, this is the theme song from the highly-rated Sopranos television series. McBride’s rough, sand papery voice is perfect for this song and his addition of keyboards is a great improvement. The title track “Keepin’ It Real” falls back into the funky, upbeat, McBride’s style we are accustomed to. Good listening music. “Oi Gata” is a clear and crisp, latin influenced piece that almost feels like being on the beach. “Lakewood” is all smooth jazz summertime music.

“His Name” is more gospel-flavored, and features Wayne DeLano showing his saxophone prowess. I heard that Wayne has an album coming out in the not too distant future. If so, we’ll let you know. “Never Let You Go” segues from smooth scat to rich vocals. Did I hear a hint of Jarreau in there? “Can’t Live Without You” features Todd Parsnow’s acoustic guitar delicately woven with the vocals and carefully placed sax lines.

“When You Smile” again shows Delano’ssoprano sax mastery in a duo with McBride’s piano that’s sweet and sexy. “Kickin’ It” and “Gentle Rain” lighten things up a bit before closing up with an instrumental version of “Woke Up…”. On the whole this is a smooth album with some great songs. If there’s a down side it’s the fact that all but the first song sound like Joe McBride tunes. Much like Joe Sample, McBride has a very identifiable style and he must ooccassionally work at writing songs that push his own envelope a bit. This is also a much better release than his last, so try it.

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