With his first album in a decade, Times Have Changed, Ronnie Baker Brooks brings a fusion of good old funk-blues-soul inspired pleasure to the plate and delivers something of an overall joy to listen to.
With Brooks own magisterial guitar handiwork being more than adequately backed up by original Stax Records stalwart Steve Cropper on the album’s opener, Show Me then what becomes immediately clear is that times may have changed, but that limitless ability rarely ever does.
There’s a very definite 70s vibe running through the set. Normally, this wouldn’t garner too many points but here it is doen with such subtlety, such class, it’s hard not to appreciate its mellowness. “Big Head” Todd Mohr’s work energises Doing Too Much, cutting its own path yet never seeking to outdo the mastery that’s playing alongside him. This is also true of the apparent free jam that is Twine Time, a track on which the effervescence of simply playing for the joy of playing permeates every note.
Give Me Your Love, with its effusive keys and bass line, will have ladies of an age swooning and recalling Richard Roundtree at his zenith; Angie Stone’s Chantilly cream laced vocals enriching and sexing up that which is already sweating with intimacy. Okay, you could be forgiven for thinking that you may have slipped a Barry White tribute CD into the machine. Yet listen closely and admire the musicianship, the craft, the melodic dynamite with which this track has been infused and wallow in its moody vibrancy.
As to track of the album, for its fusion of solid blues and out-and-out marvellousness, Long Story Short is an example to all just what it is to rip the rule book up and pen a whole new magical guide as to how to play it right.
Ten years is a long time to be ‘away’. Ronnie Baker Brooks with Times Have Changed makes it seem as though he has been forever there and his coolness is a welcome return to the often too frantic world of chilled bluesmanship.
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Times Have Changed
Label: Provogue Records
20th January, 2017
- Show Me
- Doing Too Much
- Twine Time
- Times Have Changed
- Long Story Short
- Give Me Your Love (Love Song)
- Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants
- Old Love
- Come On Up
- Wham Bang Thank You Sam
- When I Was We