James Solberg Band

One of These Days

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If you owned a blues club and insisted that you would only book hardcore blues purists, you would miss out on a lot of talented people. That's because so many of the artists playing the blues circuit in the 21st century have other influences -- perhaps rock, perhaps soul, perhaps jazz. All of those things have influenced James Solberg, who is essentially a bluesman but is far from a purist. Those who expect everything a bluesman records to have 12 bars are bound to find One of These Days disappointing, but more eclectic and broad-minded listeners will find a lot to admire about this German release, which finds the charming singer embracing everything from moody, Bobby "Blue" Bland-ish soul-blues (&"One of These Days," "Everyday") to exuberant blues-rock ("One False Move," "Too Damn Much Lovin'"). Solberg's performance of "Do You Call That a Buddy?" recalls the blues-jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, and his own "Litehouse Keeper" is a Southern soul item that takes us back to a time when Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, and Wilson Pickett were all over R&B radio. Overall, One of These Days is quite solid. The only disappointing track is a surprisingly lackluster version of Sir Mack Rice's "Cheaper to Keep Her," which was a major hit for the late soulster Johnnie Taylor (as opposed to bluesman Little Johnny Taylor) in the early 1970s. Solberg should have soared on this track, but, for whatever reason, he drops the ball. Most of the time, however, One of These Days turns out to be a rewarding and welcome addition to Solberg's catalog.

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