I just had the opportunity to review an advanced copy of the Jeff Golub Band CD, "The Three Kings". The CD is a tribute to B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King and it will not disappoint. Jeff Golub continues to surprise his followers with his skill and appreciation of many different genre of music and sounds. According to Jeff, his career really started to soar during his early years in New York City. "I heard that Billy Squire was holding auditions and looking for a guitarist", Golub said. "So I went to the audition and he was really impressed. I learned something during my time with him, namely that I really enjoyed doing rock as well as jazz and that I could do some imaginative things within that classic rock structure".
Jeff's public and professional recognition really started to rocket when he joined Rod Stewart from 1988-1995. The best trait I admire in Jeff Golub is that he doesn't think about categories, labels or popularity when it comes to music. Instead, his major concern is something far more basic: honesty. "I love all kinds of music and I really only look at one thing when it comes to any style or type: if it truly comes from the heart". If you need any proof that Jeff lives within these words, just take a look at the outstanding musicians he has put together in his band! You won't find this kind of thinking too often today when the major concern of performers is not creative quality but just pure market sales numbers and expenses.
Jeff has put together a great group of musicians on "The Three Kings" CD:
Jeff Golub- guitar
Henry Butler- piano & vocals
Andy Hess- bass
Josh Dion- drums/percussion/vocals
Robben Ford- guitar
Sonny Landreth- slide guitar
Chris Palmaro- B3
Nick Lane- trombone/horn arrangements
Rick Braun- trumpet
Euge Groove- tenor sax
Dave Woodford- bari sax
Mitchel Forman- synth strings and string arrangements on "The Thrill Is Gone"
Jeff's new CD has 13 cuts on it and I can tell you with all honesty, they are all just great. And if you are a classic blues fan, I am positive the CD will quickly become your "go to" CD. As I have expressed before in "The Music Man Blog", I always believed that when a performance is recorded live, the additional emotion generated from the musicians can rarely be captured in a closed studio recording session. This CD is an exception! According to Jeff "Other than some minimal overdubbing we played it live and tried to keep it sounding fresh and spontaneous". Well Jeff, mission accomplished! The only
element separating this CD from a live recording is applause.
It's really difficult to pick my favorite songs on this CD because I like them all. So I will just mention four tracks that I think are terrific, otherwise, I would be listing all 13 tracks.
Henry Butler excels on this CD with both his vocals and his piano excellence. His brilliant piano work at times just puts the listener in awe. I love his solos on the B.B. King classic, "The Thrill Is Gone" The string arrangement by Mitchel Forman fits with the band and Butler's voice better than you might expect. Butler also does a great vocal on "Born Under A Bad Sign" and the band is really in a groove on this one. I think "Side Tracked" could make it as a single again today thanks to the great guitar work by Robben Ford. "Freddie's Midnight Dream" is also wonderful.
This CD is just not another cover of some great old songs. It's a fresh, new approach by a group of fine musicians paying tribute to the best classic blues guitarists in American music history while at the same time bringing something of their own to these great songs.
Jeff Golub deserves a great deal of credit for producing this CD not only for his fine guitar playing but because of how difficult it is to bring all this high-level talent together and have them perform as one unit. This is clearly Jeff Golub's band. Under his control, vision and his unifying strength these great talented musicians joined together perfectly to produce the great sounds on this CD. Every time I get to hear Jeff he seems to get better and better. His guitar phrasing and dexterity is always creative and clear as a bell.
Congratulations Jeff for you performance and production efforts on this fine CD. I look forward to many more CD's from "The Jeff Golub Band".