Fred Chapellier / Billy Price

Live on Stage

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The transcontinental soul/blues duo of Pittsburgh's Billy Price and France's Fred Chapellier took their show on the road (in Europe) to support the release of the duo's Night Work debut. The results are contained on this CD/DVD package, a logical and energetic follow-up to the studio recording that reprises some -- but not all -- of those tunes, adds logical covers, and generally ratchets up the sparks, as live albums typically do. The 11-song audio CD runs about half the time of the far more extensive two-hour DVD, but both nail the vibe of shows that featured tough, resilient backing musicians augmented by two horn players. Covers such as those made famous by Bobby "Blue" Bland (an eight-minute version of "I'll Take Care of You,") Johnnie Taylor ("Last Two Dollars"), and especially O.V. Wright ("A Nickel and a Nail") make terrific additions to the originals and co-writes that appeared on the twosome's previous disc. Al Green's "Love and Happiness," sung on the studio take by guest vocalist Otis Clay, also benefits from Price's emotive singing on the concert adaptation. The DVD's extended playing time gives the band, and especially guitarist Chapellier, a chance to stretch out as they do on the instrumental "Blues for Roy," a tribute to Price's old employer Roy Buchanan which didn't make the cut onto the accompanying CD. He's a tasty guitarist, capable of opening up when needed, but just as content to lay back when the song doesn't require his leads. The DVD isn't terribly slick, which dovetails nicely with the soulful music, but effectively captures the proceedings with a minimum of edits and video distractions as they go through their paces in front of a small but enthusiastic club audience. Only five tracks are duplicated from Night Work, so those who own it will not only enjoy the more fiery live renditions here, but will get a large helping of the soul and blues classics that clearly inspire both Chapellier and frontman Price. The latter, after decades in the business without finding a lot of popularity, seems to have found a kindred spirit in the guitarist. It might be a bit early for a live album from this pair, but this was a hot ensemble playing an inspired batch of songs, and the performance takes the already exciting studio set to the next level.