Bruce Sudano

Rainy Day Soul

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Rainy Day Soul is a complete and impressive collection of ten songs by a talented veteran who has never truly received his due. Though Bruce Sudano and his doo wop/disco band Brooklyn Dreams and wife Donna Summer co-wrote Summer's 1979 mega smash, "Bad Girls," with Sudano and Summer also collaborating to write the country-pop hit "Starting Over Again" for Dolly Parton in 1980, this album is 180 degrees away from the sounds of all the recognizable chart action the artist has encountered over the years, a shimmering excursion into singer/songwriter folk-pop-blues with more of an emphasis on structure and message than mainstream gloss. That doesn't mean it is as raw as Gerry Goffin's obscure 1973 classic, It Ain't Exactly Entertainment, the infectious hooks on "Hey Chattie," the tender "Where Would I Be," and other compositions casting that notion right aside. With Sudano sounding like another Christian singer/songwriter, Andy Pratt, opening song "Show Me Who You Are" is actually so much closer to latter-day Pratt that a blindfold test would definitely confuse fans of both artists. Thus the uptempo and spiritual nature of "Eagle in the Sky," featuring the saxophone of Jeffrey Scott Wills, should come as no surprise. A craftsman who has had chart action over the past 34 years prior to this solo effort, Sudano was one of many collaborators on a 1969 Top 20 hit, "Ball of Fire," with and for pop maestro Tommy James. That title is one of the Shondells' most underrated gems and, not coincidentally, has the same sparkle featured on "Tighter, Tighter" by Alive 'N Kickin', a 1970 classic rock record by a group that included this artist as keyboardist. But where the Alive 'N Kickin' and self-titled Brooklyn Dreams albums were both inconsistent, the music here is strong from top to bottom. The old-world feel of "Lé Imaginé Café," the only co-write on a disc of all originals, is pure and subtle dynamite. A black-and-white video to the song is available on BruceSudano.com, and viewing it reinforces what a strong track this is, the Nathan DiGesare/Laurie DiGesare/Bruce Sudano composition having elements of Sade meets "The Girl from Ipanema" and displaying much hit potential. "Time to Be Free" and "Running Thru the Jungle" are very different in style and construction, but like the other titles that surround them, they are most satisfying on this dreamy blue-eyed soul album from an artist who should have much more of his own music in release.

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