One thing I love about being asked to review a “Blues” album is the wide range that the blues genre covers meaning that I’m never sure what to expect from the album unless it’s from an artist I listen to regularly. This is the debut solo album from 24 year old King Solomon Hicks, so I had no idea what to expect from the album. He grew up in Harlem, New York around a lot of great musicians. Clearly some of their talent has rubbed off on him as this is an excellent debut. At the age of 13 he started playing with the Cotton club band, a 17 piece band, and appeared on an album with them. Despite being only 24 he’s played on Joe Bonamassa’s Blues cruise, the KISS kruse as well as festivals in Europe, Japan, Mexico, the caribbean and the USA.
Check out “I’d rather be blind”…
This may be a Blues album but there’s also a Jazz influence and a 70s rock influence too. While some purists may not like that mix, I love it. There are some original songs and a few covers including the Blood Sweat & Tears song “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”. I like the fact that he’s done his own thing with the covers rather than trying to copy the originals perfectly. He’s got a great voice that at times reminds me of Robert Cray.
If I had to level a criticism at the album it’s that it maybe feels a little less focussed than I’d like. It’s great to have diversity as long as the songs sound like they belong together, but this sometimes feels likemore of a showcase of what he can do instead of a moe focussed album. The album is still a great album, but I think that on his next album we’re likely to be really impressed as he’s clearly got the talent and is only likely to improve.
“Harlem” is out on 13th March 2020
1. I’d rather be blind
2. Every day I have the blues
3. What the devil loves
4. 421 South main
5. I love you more than you’ll ever know
6. Headed back to Memphis
7. Love is alive
8. Have mercy on me
9. Riverside drive
10. It’s alright
11. Help me