How many of you remember the nights at the Hotel Isabella when Kenny Neal and his brothers hosted shows with such visitors as Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Dollar, Sunnyland Slim and Junior Wells? Or his tenure with the Downchild Blues Band? He has been back in Baton Rouge for so long we tend to forget his contributions to our scene. He still has family here and visits regularly. Donnie Walsh didn’t forget, Kenny was a star attraction at Downchild’s 45th at Massey Hall last fall. After stints with Alligator and Blind Pig Records, not much was heard from him for a while but Kenny’s new CD aims to change that. He has super producer Tom Hambridge on board and much of the Neal Family (Noel Neal is on bass), horns, backup singers, strings and most of all superb songs. “Ain’t Gon’ Let The Blues Die” is a rocking three minutes and nineteen seconds of hit blues song history. He’s even willing to sell his soul to the devil if that’s what it takes. “Bloodline” is a slow blues that deals with the Neal family history, from father Raful to Kenny and the to all his brothers & sisters and their families. There’s a video of this song at his web site. The strings are an important part of the performance of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away”- very nice, a different side of Kenny. The horn-led rocker “Keep On Moving” provides some solid advice. “I Go By Feel” tells of the advice he received from an old blind blues man and how much it has influenced him – another highlight. “I’m So Happy” is a good time song co-written with daughter Syreeta, who started her own musical career here. “Blues Mobile” will bring a smile to every Downchild fan, it seems Kenny hasn’t forgotten either! An acoustic road song co-written with Hambridge and Seth Walker, “I Can’t Wait” is another delight. Steve Dawson guests on Weissenborn guitar with Kenny on harmonica. Kenny released “Thank You BB King” as a single early last year before BB King passed away. It’s clearly a heartfelt tribute, well written & beautifully sung. Indeed his singing is superb throughout. He plays lead guitar and harp and it takes a full page in the booklet to list all the players. It was worth it. The web site is www.kennyneal.net.

https://youtu.be/Ezptt1evBGo

John's Blues Picks Sept 2016 - Sunday Wilde
September 2016 - Dawn Taylor Watson