The Love Light Orchestra
Leave the Light On
Nola Blue Records
Review by Randy Murphy
The joy of listening to so many new music releases is that occasionally an album comes across my desk that reminds me of why I fell in love with this music so many years ago. Such is the case with The Love Light Orchestra’s debut recording “Leave the Light On.”
Oh, man — I adore this record. It effortlessly creates the image of a smoky, poorly lit Memphis roadhouse on a steamy summer evening in, say, 1956. The record has it all — sweaty horns, a sturdy, soulful rhythm section, stirring, combustible vocals, saucy lyrics — and it’s altogether wonderful from beginning to end.
I usually try to avoid hyperbole, but every cut on this album is just terrific, from the loping blues shuffle of “Tricklin’ Down,” the energized sway of “Follow the Queen,” to the album’s only cover, a piercing rendition of B.B. King’s 1950s blues hit “3 O’Clock Blues.” This last tune offers the opportunity for the horn section (Scott Thompson on trumpet, Jason Yasinsky on trombone, Art Edmaiston on tenor sax and Kirk Smothers on baritone sax) to weave a potent spell around Joe Restivo’s incendiary guitar playing. This record is simply chocked full of splendid and authentic Memphis-style blues and soul.
It’s a difficult chore to place one cut above the rest, but if forced to pick one, it would have to be the languid “Time is Fading Fast.” Here, John Németh’s stunning vocals, at once subtle and dazzling, are to my ears, his best work on the album. And given the quality of his singing throughout the record, that’s saying something indeed. This tune begins with a gentle swing and builds to an explosive vortex of intoxicating vocals and whirling horns. Heady stuff, this.
I can’t recommend this album enough, and the fact that it’s their debut release makes it even more remarkable. I imagine, given the energy and potency of the record, The Love Light Orchestra is absolutely killer live.
Total Time: 34:18
Time is Fading Fast / Come On Moon / Give Me a Break / I Must Confess / 3 O’Clock Blues / After All / Tricklin’ Down / Open Book / Leave the Light On / Follow the Queen