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Bluesy, Groovy
""Wherever The Road Takes Me" summarizes 30 years of Neal Black's loyalty to the Dixiefrog label. What to discover or rediscover the rich career of this great man of the blues."
NEWF (01.07.2022)  
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"Wherever The Road Takes Me" summarizes 13 albums and 30 years of fidelity to the Dixiefrog label. As much to say that the choice of the songs must have been a big headache. Because even if Neal Black doesn't have the international fame of his mentors, in particular the great Stevie Ray Vaughan, he has been touring the international stages for a long time, with his blues in his body and his guitar on his shoulder. For those who don't know the Texan who has been living in France for nearly 20 years, this best of is the ideal way to get acquainted with his universe. For the others, it is the occasion to find all that makes the strength and the originality of the bluesman with the so characteristic smoky voice.

In 18 studio tracks and 8 live tracks, "Wherever The Road Takes Me" shows all the eclecticism of the man for whom the blues is first a matter of songwriting before being a demonstration of guitar technique. However, on this side, Neal Black has a lot of lessons to give in terms of blues feeling. It is besides what strikes most with the listening of the live part of the album. Stripped of the horns' interventions, the tracks become real blues rock ('Goodbye Baby', 'Handful Of Rain') and boogie rock ('Did You Ever', 'Lost Without You') thanks to Neal Black's flamboyant guitar playing and to the impressive groove of the rhythm section of The Healers ('Chicken Shack Cognac'). In this respect, the magnificent cover of Johnny Nash's 'I Can See Clearly Now' is enough to prove the band's talent on stage.

But it's the studio tracks that really show how Neal Black has known throughout his career how to appropriate all the styles derived from the blues and how he has oriented his way of composing to fit each of them. From the most rootsy blues played on the dobro ('Worried About It') to the pure and hard rock and roll ('Did You Ever'), from the blues rock ('Handful Of Rain', 'I'm Gonna Cry') to the Chicago blues ('Lost Without You'), Neal Black confirms in 18 tracks that the blues is much more than what it is often reduced to: 12 bars loops on a ternary rhythmic.

Indeed, the style of Neal Black & The Healers feeds on many other musical genres such as Mexican music ('Bad Rose Tatoo', 'Hotel Room In Mexico') and country music ('The King Of San Antone') and does not limit itself to the guitar to express what the blues is. The tracks where the piano dominates ('Cry Today', 'Justified Suspicion') are among the most beautiful of this best of.

"Wherever The Road Takes Me" shows how Neal Black dominates his subject despite his legendary discretion and humility. The numerous guests present on the album, in particular Fred Chapellier, Popa Chubby and especially the immense Robben Ford, author of a solo worthy of his great class on 'All For Business', will finish convincing you to throw an attentive ear to this beautiful summary of the career of this great man of the blues.
- Official website

01. All For Business
02. Hotel Room In Mexico
03. Jesus And Johnny Walker
04. Worried About It
05. Did You Ever
06. The King Of San Antone
07. Handful Of Rain
08. Cry Today
09. Lost Without You
10. Bad Rose Tatoo
11. Mississippi Doctor
12. New York City Blues
13. Justified Suspicion
14. Sunrise In Prison
15. Saints Of New Orleans
16. Misery
17. I'm Gonna Cry
18. It Hurts Me Too
19. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day (Live France 2018)
20. Goodbye Baby (Live France 2018)
21. Did You Ever (Live France 2018)
22. Lost Without You (Live France 2018)
23. Handful Of Rain (Live France 2018)
24. Chicken Shack Cognac (Live France 2017)
25. I Can See Clearly Now (Live France 2018)
26. Streamline Woman (Live France 2018)

Barry Ramus: Basse
James Wormworth: Batterie
Mike Lattrell: Claviers
Neal Black: Chant / Guitares / Dobro, Banjo
Damien Cornelis: Claviers / Invité
Fred Chapellier: Guitares / Basse / Invité
Gary Wade: Claviers / Invité
Jimmy Abbott: Claviers / Invité
Kris Jefferson: Basse / Invité
Magali Bourderon: Claviers / Invité
Popa Chubby: Guitares / Invité
Robben Ford: Guitares / Invité
Steve Holley: Batterie / Invité
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