Originally formed as a backing band for master bluesman Taj Majal, Phantom Blues Band prove themselves a force to be reckoned with on Inside and Out. Whether rocking the house with a southern fried blues tune or touching listeners’ hearts with a moving soul ballad, Phantom Blues Band’s passion and musicianship are relentless.
Exuberant blues-rock tracks like “It’s All Right” and “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” feature spandex-tight horn arrangements and a rock-solid rhythm section. “Having a Good Time With the Blues” takes listeners to Memphis with swinging horns and tasty licks from guitarist Johnny Schnell. A heartfelt performance of Charlie Rich’s “Feel Like Going Home” is simply jaw-dropping.
“So Far from Heaven” and “Change” are Inside and Out’s most powerful tracks. The searing, politically-charged lyrics and pulsating rhythms sound like a time warp back to the heyday of socially conscious soul. Mike Finnegan’s organ injects these tunes with a strong dose of gospel grit, while Schnell lays down some razor-sharp rhythm guitar.
While 2012 has seen the loss of some legendary musicians, Phantom Blues Band assures American music fans that the future is in good hands.
– Jon Kleinman