Review: "Life" (CD) - Richard Studholme

Life cd cover

"How ya doin’ ?  well come on in" sings Richard Studholme as he invites you into his new CD Life which is a feast for ears and heart, bursting with fantastic rhythm, blues and soul.

 

On that opening track (a Studholme original), Richard with his long experienced blues based guitar playing and lively vocal, along with the fabulous band he’s gathered together, sets the tone and high standard for the whole CD which bears all the hallmarks of an instant classic.

This immaculately produced collection with its soulful and affecting arrangements packs a big sound punch of warmth and immediacy, and also evokes a time when this music mattered so much (and still does to many of us!).

 

Richard has over the years both produced,  played live and on record with several of the legendary blues men, and is an outstanding player and vocalist, and a splendid songwriter to boot, being able to turn on a sixpence from rocking to reflective.

 

A fine example of this is on the up tempo Roy Lee Johnson song She Put The Whammy To Me which conjures up a terrific night at a hot and sweaty Chicago blues club, and then moving on to the next track, one of Richard’s self written songs Working On The Bottom that has the style and feel of one of those great Stax classics from the sixties.

 

An exciting workout of the Stone’s instrumental 2120 South Michigan Avenue featuring Josh Phillips on Hammond organ and absorbing  playing from Richard segues well into another soulful, life affirming Roy Lee Johnson song Love Is Amazing which uplifted the crowd when played live recently.

 

The running order of the tracks is just perfect as they take you on a roller coaster ride, presenting through the lyrics and settings an insightful take on a life lived to the full.

There is no grandstanding in Richard’s playing and vocals, just intelligent, subtlely skilled and thrilling music with a beautiful tone that melds with ensemble playing from the high calibre band that includes Jim Leverton, bass, Andy Newmark, drums, and horn arrangements by Kevin Robinson. Also well worth an honoury mention is Tom Jaworski, guitar, who along with the marvellous Mr Leverton is a member of The Blue Devils, the regularly gigging band that Richard fronts.

 

With the penultimate track You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me with eyes closed I was carried back to an era when this music was new and stunning, and yet this CD proves these sounds can still reach and move us today.

 

The closing number, a performance of a poignant Boz Scaggs song, with an emotive vocal and soaring guitar work from Richard is called appropriately enough I Just Go but you’ll want to return to these tracks again and again … so listen, dance, or just sit back and pour yourself a whiskey, or whatever your pleasure, dream and remember, as you let Richard Studholme’s Life take you to a deeper (and higher) place … get it ! crank it up ! enjoy …

 

... watch out on Local & Live for the next Blue Devils gig. 

 

Submitted by Nigel Warton 
12th November 2012

 

Both CDs are available on the web as MP3s - or buy the CD at a gig!