Seeing Is Believing

On Seeing Is Believing, Sugar Ray Norcia’s seventh album for Severn Records, the 62-year-old harpist and his longtime bandmates (36 years!)—Anthony Geraci, piano; Michael “Mudcat” Ward, bass; Neil Gouvin, drums—are joined by “newcomer” guitarist “Monster” Mike Welch (who’s only been on board for 15 years). The 11 originals feature Norcia’s ebullient blues harp work, and the wry lyrics detail a plethora of woman problems, as on the title track in which he can’t believe what he sees when his baby misbehaves. The bouncy “Got a Gal” is about a woman who “is so mean to me” and features tasty solos by Norcia and Welch. Norcia also has a great voice, as evidenced by his a cappella solo on “Keep on Sailing.” Since his first recordings 20 years ago, Welch has managed to slow down and his outstanding work on the only cover, B.B. King’s “You Know I Love You,” which he dedicates to King, is truly heartfelt. Another highlight is the rip-roaring “Blind Date,” with Norcia and Welch in high gear.