Title - 'Blowin' Down the House'
Artist - Big Jay McNeely
Come one now, if the front cover art of those screaming (literally) young man from back in the day doesn't get you all pumped up to hear just what it was they were actually screaming about; and more importantly who for, then already this CD isn't for you!
For those not in the know - which is perfectly fine, because I love this kind of music with a passion, and yet had no idea of this bands existence before the CD arrived here for review - Big Jay McNeely (born Cecil James McNeely) is an American rhythm and blues saxophonist.
Inspired by Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young, he teamed with his older brother Robert McNeely, who played baritone saxophone, and made his first recordings with drummer Johnny Otis, who ran the Barrelhouse Club that stood only a few blocks from McNeely's home. Shortly after he performed on Otis's "Barrel House Stomp" and son after that Ralph Bass, A&R man for Savoy Records, promptly signed him to a recording contract.
Indeed, it was Bass's boss, Herman Lubinsky, who suggested the stage name Big Jay McNeely, because Cecil McNeely did not sound commercial. McNeely's first hit was "The Deacon's Hop," an instrumental which topped the Billboard R&B chart in early 1949. As it turned out, the single was his most successful of his three chart entries.
And now here in 2016 we have a new CD from the hoking tenor sax musician, Blowin' Down the House: Big Jay's Latest & Greatest out now via Cleopatra Records. Now, I didn't know quite what to expect, as noted above, but man, this soulful singer, and downright incredible sax player is one of a kind now, in my eyes. His big, booming voice immediately takes control of the opening track, "Love Will Never Fail" and from there on in, well, this CD is unstoppable.
Here on the rhythm & blues saxophonist's new CD, the undisputed King of honking saxophone and jump blues brings down the house with this superb collection of brand new recordings and old favorites! This career retrospective showcases McNeely's brightest moments including such legendary and influential cuts as "Big Jay's Hop" and "Nervous Man Nervous" whilst also bringing us brand new songs written and recorded for this release - such as "Love Is Stronger Than Hurt," "I've Been Mistreated" and more!
1. "Love Will Never Fail"
2. "Love Is Stronger Than Hurt"
3. "My Love Never Ended"
4. "I’ve Been Mistreated"
5. "You Don’t Have To Go Home"
7. "Big Jay’s Hop"
8. "Blow Blow Blow"
9. "Willie The Cool Cat"
10. "Rock Candy"
11. "Nervous Man Nervous"
12. "Get On Up & Let’s Boogie"
Big Jay's music has been enjoying a revival as of late, having been featured in major films such as 2013's 'Gangster Squad' and last year's Bryan Cranston vehicle 'Trumbo', and deservedly so, believe me. I mean, you can't help but get lost in this album. An album that reflects and showcases the big man at his peak, and at his here-and-now finest also. A pure joy, from start to finish, Blowin' Down the House: Big Jay's Latest & Greatest is a MUST-HAVE in your collections that feature musicians of this genre.