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This set is based in strong blues and R&B, with occasional soul touches, and with some truly world-class musicians in support, this is an early contender for my CD of the Year.

Norman Darwen | Blues In The South

blewzzmann review

Not being familiar with the name D. A. Foster, I decided to check out his website to see what I might learn about this stranger. As it turned out, a lot of what I learned made me realize that D. A. was not that much of a stranger at all. For nearly fifty years he's been an integral part of many parts of the music business and many of his associates, and some of his projects, were very recognizable. As a matter of fact, his bio was such interesting reading I was very tempted to just copy and paste the whole thing right here. However, I'll just stick to talking about the disc for now, and later on I'll tell you where to find that bio.

"The Real Thing" is indeed the title of the CD but listeners will unquestionably agree that those are words which could easily describe D. A. Foster as a vocalist and performer, as well. Joining him on this release are: Mike Finnigan on B3 organ, piano & background vocals; Tony Braunagel on drums; Larry Fulcher on bass & background vocals; Johnny Lee Schell and Josh Sklair on guitar; Lenny Castro on percussion; David Garfield on piano; Darrell Leonard on trumpet; Joe Sublett on saxophone; Lee Thornberg on flugelhorn, trombone and trumpet; and Julie Delgado and Nita Whitaker on background vocals. Tony Braunagel and Mike Finnigan are also the project's producers.

"The Real Thing" opens with a track that most of us men, at one time or another in our lives, may have quoted a line from - I know I have. The song is "Good Man Bad Thing" and the line is "I'm just a good man who's done a bad thing". The track opened with a short fifteen second rhythmical lead in and in that little bit of time I knew the next hour was going to be quite pleasurable. Mike, Tony, Larry and the horn section were already all over this one. Then D. A. started singing and it took exactly one verse for him to validate his vocal credentials. His smooth, strong, soulful, slightly scratchy and superbly articulate vocal attributes all add up to an absolutely perfect singing voice.

As I'm listening to the title track - "The Real Thing" - I've come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I try, it's going to be virtually impossible to not sound redundant. You put a bunch of world class musicians together with someone I already said has a perfect voice and you come up nothing short of excellence on every track. With that said, this is one of the better guitar and piano tracks with Larry and Mike on top of their game.

On this particular track, everyone sounds like their having a grand old time. The rhythm and horn sections are on fire with Joe getting in a smokin' sax lead, Julie and Nita are belting out some very harmonious background vocals and D. A. is "Smack Dab In The Middle" of everything singing the hell out the song.

One of my all time favorite baritone blues singers is the late great Barkin' Bill Smith, and on "Lie To Me", D. A. sounds every bit as good as Bill ever did. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this man's voice? I thought so, but it deserves repeating. BTW, D. A. isn't the only one at discs best on this track because Joe's nailing it on the sax as well.

On a slow jazzy love song titled "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You", D. A. sounds as good as any crooner this listener's ever heard. As I listen to him I hear some of Lou Rawls, some of Brook Benton, and some of Big Joe Turner - not exactly a bad bunch to be associated with. Also, this is one of just three tracks that David appears on and his piano playing is as beautiful as the song itself.

Other tracks - all of which I could have said something wonderful about as well - appearing on "The Real Thing" include: "We All Fall Down", "Ain't Doing Too Bad", "This Time I'm Gone For Good", "Super Lover", "I Need A Good Woman Bad", "You Just Can't Smile It Away", and "Down Home Blues".

Every year, usually in late January, I present the Blewzzy Award to my favorite CD of all those I reviewed the prior year. With that having just been done, and next year's still eleven months away, I'm going out on a limb and saying that in 2015, this is the one to beat.

Now, about that D. A. Foster bio I mentioned earlier. You can read that and much more by going to www.dafostermusic.com. When you do, please tell him his new fan, the Blewzzman, sent you.

Please visit mary4music.com for more great Blus news you can use!

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

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