Bob Malone – Good People
After a 20-year career as an instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, live performer & session musician Bob Malone steps out as a solo artist with the 11-cut Good People (Delta Moon Records/Drops May 21).
Malone’s forte: varied keyboards all played with wizardry as Malone serves up blues/rock, ballads, jam-infused cuts carried along with Bob’s smoky, emotive vocalizing & playing. Recorded in locations in CA & NYC this collection includes several carefully chosen covers including Bob Dylan’s classic “Tangled Up In Blue.” Daring tackles.
Malone possesses a distinctive smooth John Hiatt-type vocal. The opener is an optimistic & flexible mainstream/commercial tune that’s well-performed. What’s instantly impressive is the background singers’ finesse. Strong, colorful vocalizing that backs Malone with expertise.
The Creedence Clearwater Revival classic John Fogerty rocker “Bad Moon Rising,” starts with heavy piano notes, a whispery vocal but Malone churns it wisely into a soulful slow & deeply cultivated bluesier tune than it’s remembered for. Good re-arrangement. The guitar (Shane Theriot) & piano intertwining is delicious. The backup singers simply ignite the tune.
It’s a well-recorded CD with good instrumental separation. Malone’s vocal approach doesn’t always grip – especially when he dips into near-falsetto stylings. His voice is too rich to dabble in such sweetening. “Empty Hallways” is a good song but not on repeated listening just for that reason. If you need higher notes hire a female singer. The song deserves better.
Malone’s keyboards are always striking & well-applied to each song. The ensemble playing is assured. Many songs are attractive. In full throat vocal Malone shines best. “Head First,” is an exceptional song. Bob sounds like an older black blues singer here doing a ballad that slips into orchestration. The backup singers, as usual, are stellar like a church choir.
Peter Green’s classic Fleetwood Mac tune “Oh, Well,” is revived wondrously by the transfer of the memorable guitar lead to the piano. This is rousing & quite satisfying. A show-stopper & exciting. What’s admirable about Malone’s effort is the clutter of musicians assembled yet nothing is messy, everything is consistent, tight, a well-disciplined group of players.
Malone recruited many musicians who recorded over a 3-year period: Bob DeMarco (acoustic/electric guitars), Shane Theriot (electric guitar/slide guitar), Troy Dexter (guitar), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel), Stefano “Il Gatto” Sanguini (guitar), Tommy Williams (guitar) Mike Baird, Doug Belote, Kenny Aronoff, Rich Zukor (drums), Dominic Genova, Calvin Turner, Jeff Dean, James Lomenzo (bass), Ritt Henn (Upright bass), Chris Trujillo (percussion), Tom Evans (sax), Karen Nash (harmony vocals), with L.B. Seetal, Celeste Butler, Karen Nash & Trysette (backing vocals).
Produced by Bob DeMarco the 48-minute CD with 2 cuts produced by Joe Michaels is diversified, collaborative & played with consistent expertise. Available @ https://www.bobmalone.com/