Album Reviews

Backtrack Blues Band

Way Back Home

Artist:     Backtrack Blues Band

Album:     Way Back Home

Label:     Harpo

Release Date:     09/02/2016


It’s about time you all get to know Sonny Charles and the Backtrack Blues Band.

The first track of an album can tell you a lot about a band and what to expect from the ten or so songs to come. On Way Back Home, this Tampa, Florida band’s fifth release, we start off with a trip to Eleuthera in the Bahamas (“Goin’ to Eleuthera”) — and if “beach blanket blues” is a genre, this is the band who originated it. This is a blues band for sure, but some uptempo jazz and a bit of classic swing come through here as well.

Whether you’re relaxing by the ocean in Ft. Lauderdale (where this album was mastered) or throwing back some happy hour specials at a dirt road bar, Way Back Home should be you day’s soundtrack. “On this studio record, we tried to capture more of a live analog sound,” Charles has said about the recording sessions for this album. “We think the CD has a warm and authentic feel that avoids the sterility that comes with many modern digital recordings.”

True Sonny, so true.

Track eight, “Baby Please Don’t Go” turns the classic “don’t leave me, please come back” tale into something fun. You have to put your drink down, and get yourself up to dance along with this one. And that live sound Charles mentions definitely comes through here.

Charles (lead vocals, harmonica), Kid Royal (lead guitar), Little Johnny Walter (rhythm guitar), Joe Bencomo (drums), and Jeff “Stick” Davis (bass) create a winning combination on this album. Founded in 1980, Backtrack Blues Band has been one of Florida’s longest-running original blues bands, and with good reason. You really can’t go wrong here.

– Brenda Hillegas

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