It probably wasn’t their intent when they recorded their second CD, Lost Your Love, but today Bay City based Blues Mobile performed a rescue mission. In this case, the cast of veteran area performers used their ample skills to drive away a case of the “Friday in the office on a sunny day” blues. I am here to tell you that I think they just may have found a cure.
Blues Mobile was formed in 2012, with all members involved with various musical endeavors in the past, which delivers a solid platform of capability that delivers a bluesy heart beat to the listener. They consist of:
• Laverne “Lady Love” Wilkins. An amazing vocalist originally from Saginaw, Lady Love was raised within a talented family of gospel musicians and is often called the ‘Queen of the Saginaw Blues’. Joining the group in 2015, her full-throttled and nuanced vocal style is often reminiscent of Etta James.
• Bob Charlebois. Working keyboards, guitar, harmonica and vocals, the first time Bob picked up a guitar was at the age of 3 and he has developed a multi-instrumental talent. He is a driving force for inspiration and possesses a definite fever for the blues.
• Craig Ziegler. This guitarist possesses a style strongly influenced by Jeff Beck. Craig’s musical talent has brought him to many different places and he delivers on expertise and brings a fresh musical perspective from Seattle, Toronto and Los Angeles into the mix.
• Gypsy James Marcet. On bass and vocals James grew up surrounded by instruments and musicians and his experience started with classical piano and includes a background in all genres. As the youngest member of Blues Mobile, he adds a fresh level of creativity into the fold.
• Scott Causley. Starting out as the drummer for the legendary pop-group The Burdons, Scott is recognized as a leader in keeping the beat with style. With his varied involvement in many musical projects for the past 25 years, Scott’s experience strikes the perfect blend of rhythm and blues.
Lost Your Love was recorded in January, 2017 at Perfect World Studios and is a rousing, rocking blues effort, which tries to bring a taste of the band’s electric live shows into the studio. The nine-song disc consists of five Charlebois originals, a song jointly penned by Zeigler and Wilkins and three quality covers of jukebox classics.
Before delving into the specifics of the album’s tracks, it is worth mentioning the stellar work of the rhythm section throughout the disc. Drummer Causley and bassist Marcet have a long history of playing together, including their time as the backbeat to the Last Folk & Roll Band. Their chemistry shows throughout the recording, as they nail the changes and propel the band through turnarounds, allowing the featured soloists to do their thing. Causley and Marcet consistently create the platform for Wilkins, Charlebois and Ziegler to burn and boogie.
The album opens with Knife In My Heart, a sultry vehicle for Wilkins powerful voice, as she bemoans the piercing she has suffered at the hands of a lover who has jilted her. (Is there any other kind in the blues?)
Album namesake Lost Your Love features a soulful guitar part by Ziegler, who shines throughout the disc with tasteful, restrained highly musical solos that stay true to the form.
Charlebois then takes the lead vocal on his own tune, Long Long Time. This song, an up-tempo classic-tinged rocker, laments the urgency that you might feel when in a romantic dry spell.
Wilkins then takes a turn with classic, Misty Blue, a song that has had multiple versions reach the charts – from country and western arrangements (like the Bob Montgomery original) to blues jazz, courtesy of Etta James. Lady Love’s version has its roots in the R&B and soul of the 1960’s, as she channels the great divas in this well-placed cover.
Mama Told Me includes some of Ziegler’s most fiery guitar work. The up-tempo rocker indicates that the band knows full well Mama said to be good, but that is sometimes kind of hard. And not a lot of fun.
The smoky When To Leave again leaves Charlebois questioning himself and wondering if it just might be time to go. He sure seems to be leaning that way.
Strongest Weakness is a foot stomping version of a song originally performed by Bonnie Bramlett. Lady Love questions why some things (or some people) are harder to give up than others.
The Screaming Jay Hawkins’ classic I Put A Spell On You, which features a smooth piano solo by Charlebois, is a rock-solid piece of the R & B catalog that fits nicely within this set.
As a resident of the Bay City’s inimitable South End, I can definitely relate to the spry Charlebois penned rock “Southend Shuffle.” He’s right, yo mama does live down there. I’ve seen her around myself.
All in all, Lost Your Love is an enjoyable Musical ride. Now that it has passed the desk-chair test, I can’t wait to take it out on the road.
Blues Mobile has also been honored to play nightclubs and festivals with the likes of Larry McCray, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Sharrie Williams, Peter Madcat Ruth, The Root Doctors, Big Ray & the Motor City Kings, Question Mark & the Mysterians and John Primer.
You can find out more at www.blues-mobile.com or find out about their area appearances on Facebook.