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Doyle Bramhall

There are a few blights along Bramhall's mostly soulful Fitchburg Street.

Though this Texas troubadour is often mentioned for his association with the Vaughan Brothers or as the dad of ex-Arc Angel/ current solo artist Doyle Bramhall II, no one doubts his pedigree in Lone Star blues-rock and soul or his grasp of the genre's forefathers. He pays tribute to many of them on the recently released Fitchburg Street, named for the location of his family's home in Dallas where he was first exposed to music via the radio and a harp-blowing relative. With a voice that eerily echoes his son's, Bramhall gives funky renditions of O.V. Wright's "Blind, Crippled and Crazy" and two Howlin' Wolf songs, "Forty Four" and "Sugar." His version of "Life By the Drop," a song he co-wrote but Stevie Ray Vaughan made famous, is a solid Texas shuffle that shows off his guitar chops. But not all of the material shines: Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do" makes the Blues Brothers' take look Chess Records-quality by comparison, and too many other tunes showcase a roadhouse flavor that's too generic. He seems to be playing it too safe, as if reluctant to put his own stamp on the songs he obviously reveres.


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