CD REVIEW: Bigg Redd & Creole Soul - Do You Qualify
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"better than homemade Jambalaya"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST -
Bigg Redd & Creole Soul
Creole Soul, R&B, Motown, Americana Soul, Reggae, Saloon Jazz
Josef “Bigg Redd” Arline grew up in Hillister, Texas about 45 minutes North of Beaumont, TX and 45 minutes West of Louisiana. Like many vocalists and performers church was the place where, as a young boy growing up in the South, he found his love of music. As he grew in to his teen years, Bigg Redd saw the profound impact, at times spiritual, that his performing had on friends and family. His latest release was released in 2013 and is entitled “Do You Qualify.”
The CD kicks things off with the title track an upbeat intro piece that serves up classic Americana Creole Soul, slamming guitar chops, driving rhythm, rich harmonies an impressive vocal melody from Bigg Redd. Track 2 “Chiquita Bonita” keeps it rocking with its smooth flowing rhythm, impressive horn section, slamming guitar solo, and impressive vocal persona from Bigg Redd. Track 3 shifts gears back down a bit with smooth as silk “I Can’t Find My Drawz” a blues driven piece with amazing harmonica, well placed blues guitar, slamming solo and off the hook vocal delivery from Bigg Redd that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. Trust me when I say the lyrical content of this last piece will have you rolling in the isles. This CD makes a solid first impression and never let's up through to track 13. The music itself is an amazing blend of Creole Soul, R&B, Motown, Americana Soul with classic Americana roots with an unmistakable guitar/accordion driven vibe. There’s even hints of Reggae, Jazzy Pop and Saloon Jazz. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of such classic acts like The Neville Brothers, classic Doobie Brothers, Dr’ Hook, Johnny Winter, Bob Marley and Lyle Lovett, Along the way you can hear impressive Horn sections, lush harmonies, sporadic percussion, slamming Harmonica, impressive R&B guitar and solos, all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive and well above the bar. The solo segments are well placed and hot to the touch. The rhythm section (Bass & Drums) lays it down with some amazing drum chops. Now turning our attention to Bigg Redd – his vocal abilities are of musical legend. Bigg Redd takes many impressive vocal risks along the way showcasing a very strong and confident vocal ability. You can't teach this stuff in a classroom folks - it comes from the soul. Bigg Redd has more than enough mojo and soul to go around and his overall artistic persona is pure gold. The songwriting is amazing! The most impressive thing about Bigg Redd is Bigg Redd himself. He is beyond infectious and is one of the most impressive artists I’ve heard this year He's an undiscovered gem. Do You Qualify showcase amazing songwriting, amazing playing, amazing vocal performances via a fully loaded catalogue 13 track set of music. From slamming ‘Hanky Panky” to rocking “Wang Dang Doodle” and “Big Boss Man” to grooving “Larry” to red hot “Jah Faya” and soulful “Jai Deau Femme” to heartfelt “It’s Gonna Take Some Time” this CD has something for just about everyone.
It’s hard to find any real weaknesses with this CD. There is no release date anywhere on the CD – a bit unorthodox.
From start to finish “Do You Qualify” is a real barnburner and is better than the homemade your mama used to make Jambalaya. The music is consistent, uplifting, extremely entertaining and personifies all the best in good Americana Soul. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing an playing abilities of Bigg Redd and his band is rock solid. The lyrics are catchy, and the melodies are well crafted. Last but not least the songwriting and vocal presence from the "bigg man" are world-class. He’s in a class by himself. All in all - “Do You Qualify” is one of the best CD’s to slide across my desk this year.