Album Review- Blues Society of Western PA
Bill Toms & Hard Rain - LIVE – (featuring The Soulville Horns) 13 tracks, 79 minutes Terraplane Records Produced by Rick Witkowski and Bill Toms Bill Toms & Hard Rain LIVE (featuring The Soulville Horns) is an excellent follow-up to their 2017 release "Good for My Soul".
The CD, recorded at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh on May 5, 2018, captures the energy and vibe of their live shows. All 13 tracks are well-written original songs by Bill Toms, including two co-written with Steve Binsberger. The lyrics give the songs substance and make you want to listen to the words. Hard Rain; Tom Breiding (guitar, backing vocals), Steve Binsberger (piano, organ), Tom Valentine (bass, backing vocals) and Bernie Herr (drums) provide the groove. The Soulville Horns; Phil Brontz (tenor saxophone), Steve Graham (trombone) and George Arner (trumpet) bring it all together and give the songs a deeper sound. From the first song “Workin’” an excellent choice to open the set, featuring Bill’s energetic vocals and some nice horn arrangement, to the closing number, the rockin’ “I’m Sad No More”, the band and CD sound great. Some other songs of note include “I Got No Use (For What You’re Selling Me)”, with Soulville Horns providing a cool R&B, Stax sound and also featuring some fine guitar from Tom Breiding. “Your Love Is Good for My Soul” continues the good time vibe and lets Steve Binsberger get a little work-out on the keys. Good Stuff. “Darkest Side Of Town” and “Paying These Dues” are a couple of longer songs that let the band cut loose. “Into the Storm” gives you the feel of strolling down Beale Street. The CD is filled with well-crafted songs and a band that keeps the groove through-out. If you like the R&B sound of the old Stax and Hi Records recordings, get yourself a copy. Better yet, go see this band and pick up a copy of Bill Toms & Hard Rain LIVE, you won’t be disappointed.
~Don Luisi, Damn Right I Got the Blues, RMU Radio