THE CINELLI BROTHERS – Babe Please Set Your Alarm (own label)

Babe Please Set Your AlarmMarco Cinelli (guitarist, singer, composer) and his brother Alessandro Cinelli (drummer, singer) were born in Italy and have played in several European countries but are now based in London. Babe Please Set Your Alarm is their debut album, released in the UK on May 18th.

The brothers have a passion for the blues, mainly the electric Chicago and Texas blues from the 60’s and 70’s – and that’s exactly what the album is, good old fashioned blues with a band (bass, piano/organ/Wurlitzer, harmonica) that has a passion for playing authentically and soulfully.

The video below takes you to an extended live version of the album’s title track and I imagine (I’ve not seen them live) this is where their real strength is – teasing the soul out of a song in a live gig with the vocals, harmonica and guitar individually tugging at your emotions above a solid rhythm. The album was recorded in three days and captures some of this live energy as it flies across a mixture of classic blues and self-penned compositions.

They cover some well-known songs: Willie Dixon’s ‘Back Door Man’, closer to the original than the probably better known Howlin’ Wolf or Doors versions; a version of ‘Chain Of Fools’, written by Don Covay, which is less smooth than the one by Aretha Franklin which made the song famous – and probably better for it; and an unusual version of ‘Kiss’, much more raw than the Prince or Tom Jones electronica versions – and again, probably better for it, even with (or because of?) the shuffle rhythm the band have given it.

They recorded seventeen songs in three days and chose twelve of them for the album. If you like electric blues with a bite, give the album a listen. There’s a deliberate rawness and an unbridled enthusiasm which you can hear in the live performance in the video. As the press release says, “While the Cinelli Brothers are happy treading in the footsteps of their blues and soul heroes, they are very much doing it in their own way”.

Mike Wistow

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‘Babe Please Set Your Alarm’ – live: