If, like me, you didn’t know much about Albert Cummings before hearing his latest killer album ‘Believe’ then listening to the opening track, the old Sam & Dave chestnut ‘Hold On I’m Coming’ will tell you almost everything you need to know: clearly this geezer from Massachusetts has good taste and is unafraid to not only tackle a much covered number but deliver a cracking performance that bears comparison with the energy of the original; he has the pipes for sure, which sets him apart from the majority of gunslingers out there, and his powerful tones handle this and other tunes on this excellent album as if he has been gargling jet fuel before breakfast for a number of years.
His voice has the authority of Howling Wolf and it’s probably no coincidence that he covers ‘Little Red Rooster’, again taking a classic track and putting his stamp on it. I almost haven’t mentioned that he also plays stinging lead lines on his Strat’ with a lovely clear tone that is a real pleasure to hear; no widdling for the sake of it, but Classic Blues phrasing. The production on the album is superb; the music leaps out and smacks you in the face from the off with some excellent horn arrangements, well up in the mix and the sort of distinctive backing vocals that really lift the songs, as on second track in ‘Do What Mama Said’ which sizzles with vibrancy.
‘Queen of Mean’ keeps the tempo at close to boiling with an electric Texas style shuffle, the horns are again just magic on this, really exceptional. The strength of Albert Cummings’ vocals and his confidence are epitomised by his tackling Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’ and knocking it out of the park. After that ‘Get Out of Here’ kicks things off again with a cool and infectious riff against which there is some nifty organ work. The keys are again prominent on a funky take on Little Walter’s ‘My Babe’. The remaining tracks are just as good; in fact, the whole album is ridiculously good. Fingers crossed that we get to see this gent play some gigs on this side of the pond before too long. Definitely the real deal.