singer, Billy Price, has recently released "East End Avenue,"
and what a belter it is. Oozing quality in every department, the album
is an excellent and very varied outing, amply showcasing the voice of
this singer whose first break was with Roy Buchanan way back in the '70s.
Co-produced by Price and Jeff Ingersoll, owner of the Mojo Boneyard and
Boneyard Records, the 14 songs here add up to an extremely hard-hitting
soul, blues, funk, and R&B release.
Price co-wrote five
songs with Jon and Sally Tiven (Wilson Pickett) as well as showcasing
six songs from another of Pittsburgh's songwriting talents, Mike Sweeney.
Opening with "Keep It To Yourself," Price hits the listener
from the outset, horns wailing and Lenny Smith providing a dirty slide
solo. By contrast, Sweeney's "Soul Sailing" is an easy laidback
freewheeling R&B song, lulling the listener before the tempo is driven
up market by the funky "She Left Me With These Blues." Another
change of tempo and sublime harmonies usher in the title track, "East
End Avenue"--a relaxed shuffle with good sax solo and possibly the
best track on the album. "Only Two Lovers" reminds me of Steely
Dan in both vocals and melody construction with interesting chord sequences.
"The Price I Paid for Loving You" is a slow blues in the Ray
Charles mold and has Jimmy Britton playing some extremely tasteful piano
accompaniment. "The Other Side of You" is a mournful blues about
trying to repair broken relationships and is very much in the Robert Cray
style, whilst "Funky Like Dyke Part 2" and "Sweet Mistreating
Love" ratchet up the funk element of the album.
Price is in excellent
voice throughout, and the horn section provides a wall of sound as well
as soloing wildly.