Earl Thomas


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Although Earl Thomas was initially marketed as a blues artist, he is really more of a soul singer in the classic 1970s Al Green mold, and nothing on Intersection, his third album (and second on the Memphis International label) falls very close to the blues camp. Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Intersection mixes soul with rock and funk (and even some light Europop elements), and while Thomas isn't quite yet the honeyed singer that Green is, neither is he full of the kind of overdramatic melismatic keening that passes for contemporary soul these days. Retro it is, full of Stax-like horns and the kind of Hammond B3 organ sound that Hi Records specialized in, and Thomas holds his own here, finding interesting new corners in versions of Ike Turner's "Workin' Together" and a funked-up "Bang a Gong" (yep, the T. Rex song). The clear highlight on Intersection, though, is the final cut, a churning version of the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" that brings out more of the story and history inherent in the song, mostly because Thomas clearly enunciates the lyrics. We really haven't seen all that Thomas is capable of yet, and while Intersection is a solid album, even more than that, in spots it still feels transitional, and one gets the feeling that it might be the next one he records that will really put it all together.

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