Kenny Neal

Hooked On Your Love

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Being the oldest son of Louisiana harmonica legend Raful Neal and having Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy, and Slim Harpo as family friends and frequent household guests meant Kenny Neal literally grew up with the blues, the swamp variety and otherwise, and his career as such has been all about plying the family business. A pretty good harp player himself (he was still a toddler when he was given his first harmonica by Slim Harpo), Neal has also developed into a sleek, economical, and graceful electric guitarist, and thanks to songs like the title track here, “Hooked on Your Love,” and the wise and beautiful “Bitter with the Sweet,” he has also become a skillful songwriter. This set isn’t quite as powerful as his previous Let Life Flow album from 2008, but only by a slight degree, and it’s clear that Neal has hit his mature stride in the past couple of years. The above originals are the highlights here, but so, too, are covers of Little Milton's “If Walls Could Talk,” Bobby Bland's “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do,” O.V. Wright's “Blind, Crippled, or Crazy,” and Spencer Wiggins' “Old Friends.” Each features confident singing, tasteful and appropriate horn charts, elegant guitar leads (and now and then a chugging harp solo), and a gently swinging Louisiana groove, making this a nice follow-up to Let Life Flow.

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