Blues Art Studio

This is the second album from the highly talented Swedish band, Emil & the Ecstatics; who are; Emil Arvidssson; vocals and guitar, Johan Bendrik; Hammond organ and piano, Mats Hammarlof; bass and Tom Steffensen; drums. The horns on this set are stunningly provided by; Jakob Norgren; baritone sax, Christian Pedersen; tenor sax and Karl Olandersson; trumpet.

Emil states in the sleevenotes that he has chosen to record an album of covers, from six blues and soul legends who have had a positive impact on his life; these being (in no particular order) Otis Rush’s “You Know My Love,” & “Three Times a Fool,” Albert King’s “Wild Woman,” & “Left Hand Woman,” Don Bryant’s “The Call of Distress,” & “She’s Looking Good,” Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me” & “Baby, You Torture My Soul,” Lonnie Mack’s “Baby, What’s Wrong,” & “Soul Express,” and Little Milton’s “Have Mercy, Baby,” & “Feel So Bad.”

Satisfyingly the recordings here are not faithful note for slavish note copies; they are in fact, deeply heartfelt renditions of numbers originally performed by legendary artists, which over time have become classics. Emil and the Ecstatics performances are presented here with a crisp clarity of delivery. Also the uncluttered and sparse studio production imbues the numbers with an invigorated freshness.

The subtle use of vibrato in Emil’s vocal delivery enhances the overall sound immensely. I found this album of covers to be not only highly listenable but also hugely enjoyable; a very, very tasty collection indeed! Another fine release from CeePeeVee!
Also, an essential addition to your collection!

Brian Harman.