Danny Brooks – Rock This House
His House Records 2005
Danny Brooks holds claim to the title of Blue-Eyed Soul Man of Canada. He has a true love and deep respect for African-American roots music and the vocal chops to do it justice. Imagine a saved Springsteen and you have an idea of Danny Brooks’ sound.
His latest release is called Rock This House, the second installment of his “Soulsville” series. The inspirational lyrics are drawn from the font of his personal struggles, but rather than offer a litany of tribulations for the listener to ponder, Brooks endows his songs with uncloudy messages of hope. On the other hand, the CD’s best track, “Hold On,” is pure fun, reminiscent of Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” in its straight-ahead paean to the great soul singers of the past. Other outstanding tracks are the soul-baring “Down on my Knees” and “Unseen Hands.”
The Rocking Revelators is the muscular ensemble backing Brooks’ rugged vocals. The group includes former Band keyboardist Richard Bell, who also produced the project. The Revelators chug through Brooks’ repertory as if each member was frozen cryogenically in the early 1970s Muscle Shoals days, thawed out in 2005, shipped through Customs and into Canada. Among the background voices are the ever-capable Amoy Levy, John Mays, Steve Ambrose, and Hiram Joseph.
In an age stunted by the micro-categorization of musical styles, Danny Brooks reminds us that musical authenticity is best achieved through a broad-based integration of rock, soul, gospel, blues, RnB, and a little country. Rock This House proves this gumbo is every bit as good as it sounds.