Release Date: 7/14/2017
This is an accidentally timely album. Gregg Allman passed less than two months before this release, which often evokes those classic Allman Brothers licks and chord structures. Allman Brothers music is all over the airwaves these days. It marks perhaps the last recorded appearance of Dan Toler (one half of Tucci), the late guitarist who played with ABB, the Gregg Allman Band, and Great Southern but Toler is present only on one track, “Play by the Rules.” Nonetheless, this is a band clearly steeped in the ABB sound.
Toler’s influence is felt throughout and blues standout Larry McCray adds guitar and/or vocals to seven of the 11 tracks, creating that dual guitar effect, most often with Steve “Doc” Tucci. Brother Michael plays drums while Shawn Murphy is on sax and vocals along with Harry DeBusk on bass and vocals. Several guests join on keyboards, guitars, and vocals on select tracks. Most notable of these contributors are slide guitarist Ira Stanley and the B3 of Donnie Richards on the title track. All 11 tunes are originals.
Based in Sarasota, FL they were originally The Toler Tucci Band and issued the acclaimed Doc’s Hideaway in 2012. Toler unfortunately passed in 2013 after a long bout with ALS. Steve Tucci reflects on Toler’s influence and mentorship, “He was a true master of his craft…Dan was able to play every instrument in our band and would at times play the part he thought best on each instrument. He was like a symphony composer and knew in his mind what notes were important to produce the desired sound. We would call some of his abstract, but highly musical ideas, ‘Toler Notes’.”
The ABB sound doesn’t hit you right away but once the band kicks into the “One Way Out” styled “Hey Florida” in track six through the entire second half of the album it’s impossible to miss. Even Michael’s drumming captures the ABB feel on this track. Toler’s guitar shines in “Play by the Rules” while on most of the other tracks it’s Steve Tucci and Larry McCray trading emotional, piercing licks. The instrumental runs and percussion in the closer, “Third Eye,” with guest guitarist Bob Dielman, will conjure up “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”
Tucci plays with energy and passion. It’s as good a mix of blues and southern rock as you’ll hear, undoubtedly tracing to the classic sounds of a genre that’s now, remarkably, almost 50 years old.