Igor Prado is ready to blow minds with Lay Around And Love On You feat. Sorry Drummer

Lay Around & Love on You (feat. Sorry Drummer) - SingleIgor Prado’s artistic vision seemingly knows no bounds. When the Igor Prado Band made its recording debut a dozen or so years ago, the focus was on expertly played vintage-oriented music: Charlie Christian swing and related jazz styles, urban and jump blues, a hint of roots rock. As time passed, the scope widened to encompass a broad range of blues, from the most low-down to the jazzier edges of the genre, and classic R&B and soul. Along the way, the guitarist and singer collaborated with some of the finest musicians on three continents:, including Ari Borger, keyboard maestro Raphael Wressnig, Lynwood Slim, J.J. Jackson, Junior Watson, Mitch Kashmar, Kim Wilson, Mike Welch, Curtis Salgado, Whitney Shay, and others.

In 2018, Prado made several bold moves. He recorded as a leader for the first time without the Prado Band, releasing a single (“You’re Gonna Have a Murder on Your Hands” b/w “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind”) with Justgroove that mixed slamming hard funk with silky urban soul and heavy blues guitar – something like Albert King meets Rick James at Bobby Womack’s house. His singing, which had grown stronger with each release, was dynamite.

His most recent release, the single track “Lay Around & Love On You, “ carries the music to new places. This cover of a late-period Ray Charles tune incorporates disparate elements into a modern soul-blues masterpiece. Prado lists the building blocks: a rock and roll rhythm guitar part, direct from Chuck Berry; a Bill Withers-inspired groove; funky bass; angular piano that (almost) nods to “Sex Machine”; super bad hip-hop beats from Brazilian legend, Sorry Drummer; with an Afro-Brazilian feel underneath it all. To that mixture, Prado adds sound effects; sweet, layered background vocals; a relaxed, super-soulful lead voice (with touches of auto-tune, guaranteed to blow blues fans’ minds); and, naturally, tough, straight-ahead blues guitar.

The result is like nothing we’ve heard before…or nearly so. The nearest analogue is Rick Holmstrom’s Hydraulic Groove. That genre-bending 2002 album, widely regarded as a masterpiece, proved in the end to stand alone as an object to be admired, rather than a significant influence on other artists. Until now, that is. Prado’s “Lay Around & Love On You” takes the Holmstrom soundscape – funky drums, deep grooves, great guitar playing, and the judicious application of sonic tricks and flourishes – and supercharges it with really killer vocals and a deep soul sensibility. Whether this is the beginning of a new tradition or merely a fantastic mash-up, Igor Prado has a created a challenging, jaw-dropping work of art. I can’t wait to hear what he does next.

TOM HYSLOP

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mr tom’s Top 25 of 2016: best blues

Because 10 just isn’t enough: My top 25 blues and near-blues (that is, old-school R&B/soul and roots rock and roll) albums of last year. I won’t rank them except to let you know that my favorite record of 2016 came out of Austin, TX, with a bunch of tremendous songs, fine singing and playing, and a sound 100% all its own:

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Greg Izor & The Box Kickers – The 13 14

The other 24, alphabetically:
Alabama Mike – Upset The Status Quo
Lurrie Bell – Can’t Shake This Feeling
Dylan Bishop – The Exciting Sounds of the Dylan Bishop Band
The Blue Shadows
John Blues Boyd – The Real Deal
Jason Elmore &  Hoodoo Witch – Champagne Velvet
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
Dennis Gruenling – Ready or Not
James Hunter Six – Hold On!
Mitch Kashmar – West Coast Toast
Guy King – Truth
Don Leady & His Rockin’ Revue – Poppy Toppy Gone
Nick Moss Band – From the Root to the Fruit
The Paladins – Slippin’ in Ernesto’s
Eli “Paperboy” Reed – My Way Home
Sugar Ray & The Bluetones – Seeing is Believing
Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat – Live at the Kessler
Trickbag –  With Friends Vol 2
Tony Vega Band – Black Magic Box
Wee Willie Walker & The Greaseland All Stars – Live! in Notodden
Nick Waterhouse – Never Twice
Raphael Wressnig & Igor Prado – The Soul Connection
Nancy Wright – Playdate!
Sven Zetterberg – Something for Everybody

I have to add one – I completely forgot about

Bobby Radcliff – Absolute Hell

I could certainly have kept going and included the latest from Kurt Crandall, Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore, William Bell, John Primer, the Bo-Keys, Tinsley Ellis, John Long, Matthew Skoller, Lil’ Ed, Bob Margolin, and any number of other excellent albums, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Some of those CDs would have made the list yesterday, and might again tomorrow. The lesson: There’s a lot of beautiful music out there if you know where to look. I stand by all of these albums – great stuff. Get ’em if you ain’t got ’em, and buy another copy for a friend.

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That Eli “Paperboy” Reed album is really special. Pops Staples meets James Brown, or something like that. It’s on fire.

I’m going to keep separate a pair of absolutely essential, sizzling platters full of rare and previously unreleased music from two blues masters:

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B.B. King – Here’s One You Didn’t Know About

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Rusty Zinn – Last Train to Bluesville

When I wrote “essential,” I meant it.

Hit me with any complaints or “Right On!”s you might have.