Soul for Your Blues

Backed by an eight-piece band led by guitarist Anthony Paule, vocalist Frank Bey gets right down to the business of providing some soul for our blues with a collection of songs that focus on, among other things, the themes of loving and losing. While the titles tell some of the story—e.g., “I’m Leavin’ You,” “I Just Can’t Go On” and “You’re Somebody Else’s Baby Too”—it’s Bey’s anguished voice that fleshes them out. His distress at discovering that his lady is playing him for a fool and is somebody else’s baby, too, and the passion he brings to “I Don’t Know Why” (“I love you like I do,” he continues) are both good examples of the powerful emotions he can so easily communicate. Percy Mayfield’s “Nothing Stays the Same Forever” (“I don’t care how much you try”) gets a really unique treatment thanks to the tuba and bass-drum opening. The band members are the same ones who graced Bey’s earlier CD with Paule, You Don’t Know Nothing (which was recorded at the Biscuits & Blues club in San Francisco). Besides doing a terrific job of backing Bey again, they get their licks in on Paule’s instrumental “Smokehouse.” John Prine’s evocative “Hello in There,” about the loneliness of old age, gets a well-deserved seven-minute reading.