Down Home, Raw, Primal, Foot-Stompin, Southern Soul meets the Delta,
Genre: Blues: Slide Guitar Blues
Release Date: 2009
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
First of all, if you haven't yet caught Danny's killer No Easy Way Out (here7)…well, ya gotta. It's a barnstormer, a soulfully riveting CD that comes on like a blistering blues hurricane sweeping all before its path. The disc easily made my Top 10 of the year for ALL genres, and I've been impatiently waiting like a kid in a candy store for this, a boogie-ing blues rave-up carrying forward everything contained in No Easy Way. Live, Brooks doesn't lose an ounce of the studio magic, as joyfully gritty and effervescent as one would most fervently hope.
The Rockin' Revelators back him solidly, especially the horn section -- just trumpet and sax but, man, do they make themselves felt!—even in the melancholy ballads ("Down on my Knees", etc.), where the New Orleans element is most naked. In this disc, Brooks makes no effort to hide his Christian conversion or the saving graces it has endowed him with. I'm always asked if, as an atheist and anarchist, that doesn't make me uncomfortable, and my reply is simple: "Jesus was one of history's greatest anarchists, admired by Erasmus, Paine, Jefferson, and others equally Humanist, and his example has been a constant reference in my personal anarchy." This sends the interrogater away thoughtful…and that's precisely the effect of Live at the Palais Royale. You have to consider what it means, despite innumerable ills, when religion can save people's minds and souls, especially as it restores an incredible musician like Danny Brooks to a height he might never have achieved without it. Makes one pause, doesn't it?
Live is a rollicking, boogie-ing, sweating, burning, hip-shaking display of pure unbridled energy with tons of grinning-like-a-cat sincerity. Brooks means each and every syllable he sings, earnest down to the soles of his feet, but that doesn't say that he can't have a damn good time, and, boy howdy!, doesn't the audience know it! They're floored between every cut. I've said it before and I'll say it again, though I know the utterance is sheerest blasphemy: this guy's work is as important as Aretha's drop-dead brilliant Amazing Grace, a back-to-Jesus 2-LP live masterpiece now ignored but a milestone nonetheless. For a full hour, Brooks sings and plays his heart out, never flagging, always pinning the needle at 10. Dig into the hardtack count-em-by-the-fours of Righteous Highway and rediscover what sent Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, T.S. McPhee, and the Brit blues innovators to the woodshed in a John Lee Hooker delirium, emerging with the tastiest rebirth of the genre since Elmore.
The gospel element is undeniable in the backing vocals of Amoy and Ceceal Levy, as hip as the Staples, the Waters, and the great choruses in rock. More than once, Brooks unpins his cowcatcher slide, as does Papa John King, and Jerome Godboo's harmonica plays second fiddle to Danny's own, assuring that there's no lack of that beloved instrument either. In fact, there's not a second of this generous release that isn't full to the brim with everything a blueshound craves. Place it next to Bernie Pearl's Somebody Got to do It, and count yourself lucky that we got two such searing in-concert blues discs in a single decade!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Joh Hook / BeachShag.com 'Authentic Soul Singer' Stupendous!
Danny Brooks and the Rockin' Revelator's epitomize the journey of the Seeker who entered the dark forest to view the Grail without the Shroud, defeated their demons in battle, and returned triumphant with Live At the Palais Royale, soaked in Blues, Sweat, and Tears. As much as you loved Danny before, prepare to open an even bigger space in your heart. Danny put new solos, horns, and depth to his 2005, self-penned "Other Side of the Clouds" for this release. That's just the beginning. Danny Brooks lays down some a-u-t-o-b-l-u-e-s-o-g-r-a-p-h-y in his "Carolina,' a story that tells it all, except for who the band was that inspired him on the 2nd floor of a Fayetteville, NC hardware store in 1965. 44 years later he is still riffing to the notes that nailed him that day. Danny also wrote "Hold Your Head Up," "Hold On," and "Homestead Boogie" -- still more AUTHENTIC gospel tinged jumpin' blues delivered by someone who has obviously been there, rather than found these feelings in a postcard collection. But the journey doesn't end there, the Rockin' Revelators leap into Blind Willie Johnson's "Somebody On Your Bond" with an unforgettable familiarity that won't soon pass. Wail on, Danny.
Maple Blues/John Valenteyne
Danny Brooks Live At The Palais Royale/Soulsville III HisHouse
On May 27th, Danny Brooks & The Rockin' Revelators recorded the 3rd installment for the Soulsville Trilogy that was started with Soulsville Souled Out 'n Sanctified and Rock This House. With Alec Fraser producing this time, the full Rockin' Revelators line-up was: Bucky Berger on drums, Dennis Pinhorn, bass, Papa John King, guitar, Lance Anderson, piano & B3, Ed Zankowski, sax, Rocky Verweel, trumpet and Award winning soul shouters Amoy Levy & Hiram Joseph on background vocals behind Danny Brooks on guitar/harp/vocals. These are not live versions of those songs, only one of those is here, but excellent new ones and recording them live was a stroke of genius. The song that has been released to radio, “Carolina”, shows Danny re-discovering slide guitar and it rocks. It’s about hearing a band in the wrong part of Fayetteville, North Carolina. “Still Got This Thing For You” tells his story beginning with his older brother buying soul 45s in Buffalo and leading to his continuing fascination with the sound of Solomon Burke, Joe Tex and all the other masters of that 60’s Memphis & Muscle Schoals soul. As in the first two in the series, Danny’s ability to write in this style of music is uncanny. His voice, too, has only improved with age. From the bluesy “The Other Side of the Clouds” to the solid blues of “Righteous Highway” to the gospel fervor of “Somebody On Your Bond”, Danny & the band will transport you to different place. The blues “Carry Me Home” and “Holy Ghost Highway” are just voice & guitar and add a nice touch of variety. As you might tell from the song titles, Danny continues to find his salvation in the Lord and his book on his experiences, “Miracles For Breakfast”, is also doing very well. This should not interfere with your enjoyment of the album or the earlier two, after all it all comes from gospel music anyway. If you grew up with this music, as a lot of us did, you’ll be going back to this disc repeatedly.
LIVE AT THE PALAIS ROYALE
Track Listing / To Purchase Click Here
- Hold Your Head Up
- Down On My Knees
- Somebody on Your Bond
- Other Side of The Cloud
- Righteous Highway
- Carry Me
- Still Got This Thing For You
- Hold On
- No Turnin' Back
- Homestead Boogie
- Holy Ghost Highway