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Mr. Foster sure sounds like the real thing to these ears. Here’s one (“Good Man Bad Thing”) I’ll be playing for the rest of the year.

Mike Marrone | SiriusXM | The Loft

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From the age of 19 into his early 30's, through the 70's into the early 80's, D. A. Foster was co-owner of the Connecticut roadhouse, the Shaboo Inn, which booked such acts as Hall & Oates, the Police, Journey, AC/DC, and many others, but also hosted numerous blues acts….Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Freddie King, and Albert King, among others. Foster had natural vocal talents himself and benefitted from the tutelege of many of these blues talents, eventually fomring his own band in the late 70's, the Shaboo Allstars, a group which included Matt "Guitar" Murphy among its ranks.

Recently, Foster released his debut album, The Real Thing (Shaboo/VizzTone), a project which finds the singer joining forces with members of the Phantom Blues Band on a dozen soul and blues covers, some familiar, some not so familiar. Upon listening, you will realize a couple of things……(1) D. A. Foster is the real thing, and (2) why has it taken so long for him to release an album to verify (1).

Foster ably works through a choice set of tunes, some familiar ones like a pair of old Duke/Peacock hits associated with Bobby "Blue" Bland ("Ain't Doing Too Bad" and "This Time I'm Gone For Good"), the Jesse Stone (a.k.a. Charles Calhoun) standard "Smack Dab In the Middle," George Jackson's "Down Home Blues," Brook Benton's "Lie To Me," and the classic "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You," and a few newer tunes by Dave Steen ("Good Man Bad Thing" and "We All Fall Down"), Eddie Hinton ("Super Lover"), Bill Withers ("You Just Can't Smile It Away"), and the title track by Jerry Lynn Williams.

Foster has a warm, inviting, and understated vocal style that easily fits a variety of blues and soul styles, going from polished and upscale to gritty with little effort. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the musical backing of luminaries like Mike Finnigan (keys, backing vocals), Tony Braunagel (drums), Larry Fulcher (bass, backing vocals), Johnny Lee Schell (guitar), Lenny Castro (percussion), David Garfield (piano), Josh Sklair (guitar), horns from Darrell Leonard (trumpet), Joe Sublett (sax), Lee Thornberg (flugelhorn, trombone, trumpet), and backing vocals from Julie Delgado and Nita Whitaker.

Braunagel and Finnigan produced the disc and it sounds like everybody had a ball recording it. I'm pretty sure that you will have a ball listening to this fun and entertaining set of blues and soul. You'll agree that D. A. Foster is definitely the real thing.

Graham Clarke

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