“Let’s Have A Party!
Delta Roots Records
Publicity:  Blind Raccoon
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © July 2021
It’s just a bit over a year since I reviewed Gerald McClendon’s last release,   “Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now”, and since that release was his first in over twenty years, I’m hoping this short time frame is an indication that there are a lot more things to come from The Soul Keeper.
As with that last release, “Let’s Have A Party” contains twelve original tracks that were all written by Twist Turner – the producer of both projects, as well.  Between Gerald’s fabulous vocal abilities; Twist’s writing, producing and musical skills; their well over one hundred combined years of experience performing; the insight they share when it comes to assembling a band of stellar musicians for their projects; and with this release – which will surely be as successful as the last; this relationship appears to be a force to be reckoned with in the soul blues arena. 
Those stellar musicians joining Gerald on the vocals and Twist on the drums and strings are: Rico McFarland, Melvin Taylor, Rusty Zinn, and Joe Burba on guitars; Tony Llorens on Fender Rhodes; Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi on Fender Rhodes and piano; Brian James on keyboards; Jim Pugh on Hammond B3 organ; Skinny Williams and John “Boom” Brumback on saxophone; The Delta Roots Horns on horns; Johnny B. Gayden, Dave Forte, Harlan Terson and Art Love on bass. 

 If not for the creativity of countless musicians, over countless periods of time, being responsible for it’s evolving, like everything else in life, music would be quite boring.  There’s absolutely no arguing that!  On the other hand, there’s so much of it that doesn’t need fixing or reinventing and this discs opening track – as well as many other of these twelve tracks – are just a small part of that.  When it comes to belting out real deal, old school R&B and soulful music, Gerald McClendon does it just like the masters before him – those who actually did invent it – did.  The song is titled “Keep On Keepin’ On” and although those supportive words have been used forever, they may never have been more welcomed than now.  Musically, between Johnny, Twist and Jim on the bass, drums and B3, this one’s loaded with rich rhythm and like so many of those soul classics from back in the day that had that short mid-song sax solo, Skinny’s all over that on this one.
With the Blues Foundation just this week announcing that it is now accepting submissions for consideration in the 2022 Blues Music Awards process, the nominators need not hear more than this track – “If It Ain’t The Blues” – to consider Gerald as a nominee in the Soul Blues Male Artist category.  This is all day long listening kind of stuff.  With the rhythm section being in another great groove – as they are on every track, regardless of the ensemble – this one features Rico McFarland laying down some very cool blues guitar licks.
So if you want people to dance at your party, funky music that even wallflowers have a hard time staying still to is pretty much guaranteed to work.  As a matter of fact, the disc’s very funky title track – “Let’s Have A Party” – is working right now, right here at the house of Blewzz.  This is one of those four minute songs that takes me twenty minutes to write four sentences about, and if you’ve ever tried to type while gyrating, you know exactly what I mean.  If you haven’t yet guessed it – yes, the rhythm section, this time led by monster bass lines from Johnny B. Gayden, is totally smokin’.
Talk about dancing – or in this case maybe calling it swaying or grinding would be more appropriate – the very smooth and seductive “Pretty Girl” will surely fill the floor.  Pick one of your favorite soul groups known for their choreography and and harmony backing vocals – okay, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles will do; now pick a TV show that featured those types of artists along with young couples who loved to dance – okay, Soul Train works.  If you’re not there yet you will be while listening.   Beautifully done transcending music at it’s best. 
“Pack Your Bags And Go” is by far the sultriest breakup, song I’ve ever heard.  Although the lyrics are indeed melancholic and the sorrow in Gerald’s voice is clearly evident, I could see why this lady would rather want to take her clothes off and stay.  Singing this to her with such a sexy and seductive tone while Skinny is blowing those steamy sax chords that just reek of sensuality, could very well be misunderstood.  Maybe a text would have been better idea?
With a plea that’s so sincere and emotional, hearing Gerald ask “Won’t Somebody ‘Throw This Dog A Bone”‘, would melt even the most unsympathetic.  If slow, sensitive, bluesy ballads with slow, scorching guitar leads are your thing, Gerald and Rico have you very well covered here. 
Unlike break up songs, there’s no one better than Gerald to have sing you a makeup song.  As those “you had me at __” things go, on “Start All Over Again” – confessing and regretting with utmost sincerity – Gerald will have you at “Baby let’s start…”.   
Other songs on what I’m calling a must have album include: “Ghetto Child”; “You Got To Be Strong”; “I Just Can’t Help Myself”; “I Just Can’t Take Anymore”; and “Funky Stuff”. 
To find out more about Gerald McClendon just go to his website –  www.geraldMcClendon.com.  Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that the Blewzzman sent you.