Brian Langlinais: Right Hand Road Review

If you’re still sitting still after you drop the needle on the opening cut of Brian Langlinais’ new album, Right Hand Road, then check your heart to make sure it’s still beating. Langlinais and his all-start cast—including, among others, D.L. Duncan, who also helped produce, on guitar, Patterson Barrett on keys, James Pennebaker on guitar, Ron Eoff on bass, Lynn Williams on drums and percussion, Jonell Mosser on background vocals, and the Inglewood Horns (Roy Agee on trombone, Steve Herman on trumpet, Randy Leago on saxes)—launch this album propulsively with infectious soul grooves and searing though sensitive lead riffs. This album blends a Cajun spiciness with Muscle Shoals grit.

With riffs that recall Paul Revere and the Raiders’ classic “Hungry,” “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Love You” opens with some growling toms before launching into a soulful lament over lost love with a woman that the singer “always thought was the queen of soul with a rock and roll attitude.” With the help of Steve Conn on accordion and Barrett on Hammond B-3, Langlinais turns Wilson Pickett’s classic “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You” into a swampy, soulful Cajun tune that drives us to get out on the dance floor. Langlinais and Duncan co-wrote the title track, a down-to-the-bone Delta blues on which Duncan’s resonator guitar slides around and under the lyrics of love and longing.

Barrett’s juke joint barrelhouse piano rolls carry us into the sweaty, funky blues jazz of “Louisiana Love”: the music itself creates palpably the drenching desire of the singer and his woman. William Bell surely will be proud of Langlinais’ Stax-inflected soul take on Bell’s own “Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday,” and Muddy Waters would feel the same about Langlinais’ straight-ahead Chicago blues, replete with a stinging lead on the bridge and a joyous call-and-response on the chorus, take on Waters’ “Don’t Go No Further.” Just as the album opens with a split-your-heart-open rocker about lost love, the album ends with the Langlinais and Duncan co-write “Our Love is Slipping Away,” a Mississippi blues lament with Duncan’s mournful resonator crying the blues over a lost love.

Right Hand Road makes a joyful noise, with some down-home infectious riffs and vocals that wend their way down not just into your hearts and souls but also down into your bones. You feel these rhythms before the power of the lyrics hit you, and by then you’re already hypnotized and dancing across the floor with Langlinais and his band of merry musicians.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Lousiana Love
– Our Love is Slipping Away
– Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You
– Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday
– You Can’t Say I Didn’t Love You

The Big Hit

– You Can’t Say I Didn’t Love You

Review by Henry Carrigan

Buy the album: Amazon

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