Living Blues (p.42) - "Throughout this set, the horns and rhythm section complement Bassett's vocals and leads so closely that the usual 'frontman/back-up band' dichotomy is all but eliminated."
Personnel: Johnnie Bassett (vocals, guitar); James Simonson (acoustic bass, electric bass); Skeeto Valdez (drums); The Motorcity Horns, The Brothers Groove.
Arrangers: Chris Codish; Keith Kaminski.
Johnnie Bassett has been a popular bluesman in Detroit for many decades, and his scant few dates for independent labels have been regarded internationally as among the best sounding recordings of his peer group. With this set from Mack Avenue Records, Bassett was given a chance to break out on a broader commercial level. His sleek vocal style contains a sweetness that supersedes any scolding he might dole out. An economical guitarist who is, to say the least, understated, Bassett keeps a light groove going, punctuated by the equally concise and controlled organ playing of Chris Codish and his regular trio the Brothers Groove. A small horn section comprising some of the Motor City's best musicians join the band as they strut through this program of simplified, easygoing, no-nonsense contemporary blues. Though not the rip roaring album some might expect from Bassett, the subdued framework is quite satisfying. Johnnie Bassett has indeed found a comfort zone, and can now be enjoyed, or ostensibly discovered for the first time, by those outside of his native Michigan.
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