BILLY PRICE – Dog Eat Dog (Gulf Coast Records)

Dog Eat DogBilly Price, inducted as a Pittsburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend, released Dog Eat Dog in September. If you’re looking for folk music (not unreasonably since we are the folking.com website), this isn’t the album for you. However, if you want something rather likeable which captures a great spirit from previous years, it’s well worth a listen. Price has won a 2016 Blues Music Award and to give you a sense of the album I’d describe it as being at that point where the border melds between blues, soul and rhythm & blues – though the latter term has come to define a different genre in recent years. Price’s vocal is to the fore, along with exuberant keyboards and brass.

So…..if you place yourself in the middle of that stream of music from, say, Booker T and the MG’s in the mid-sixties to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes in the late seventies, with an occasional touch of the new directions that Nile Rogers et al took the music in – that’s where this album is.

To give a flavour then, have a listen to ‘Walk Back In’. As the title suggests, it’s a break up/get together again song but you can’t listen to this without getting that sense of late night dance floor sheer joy, no doubt with everyone joining in the title refrain. Price’s vocal soars in tandem with his aching soul, his reformation and his recognition that he needs to be back with his lover. The keyboards swirl in support of the vocal, the brass kicks in, the rhythm is held tight, the song moves between full band to limited instrumentation behind his personal confession. If Wigan Casino were still in business, this would be on the track list.

There’s a similar bounce to ‘We’re In Love’, the funkier ‘All Night Long Café’, ‘Same Old Heartaches’. Elsewhere, Price shows a more intimate style on, say, ‘Lose My Number’ and ‘More Than I Needed’ but carries that classic soul-vocal-shift from calm to heart-grabbing crescendo in a way that belies his age.

If there comes a point where you just want to feel good, give this album a play – it’s not folk music but it’s rather fun and it’ll probably give you a boost.

Mike Wistow

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‘Walk Back In’: