Album Review: Big Al and the Heavyweights: Sunshine on Me (Blusiana Music)

May 1, 2013

by: David Kunian

"When the CD cues up and the first cut “Don’t You Want Me” starts, it’s obvious that Big Al and the Heavyweights are serious about their brand of blues. These seasoned road veterans hit it tight and hard from the get-go, and the intensity never lets up. Their sound is tried and true Chicago blues with little Westside saxophone and a taste of South Louisiana bubbling up with some frattoir and accordion. Drummer Big Al Lauro plays the blues shuffles like he was born with the drum sticks in his hand, and John “The Colonel” Fuhrman’s harmonica threatens to go completely off the rails but never quite takes it that far. This is roadhouse music, music for a dancing up a good time with a cold one never far away from one’s hand. There’s a humorous why-you-got-to-be-like-that-woman tune in the vein of Sonny Boy’s “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” called “What’s Up With That.” and the deep funk of the title cut with special guest Warren Haynes slinky slide guitar over a Meters-esque beat. The Heavyweights vary up the South Side sound with some zydeco two steps spread throughout the disc so that they don’t get bogged down in the blues. Even though the band’s playing is hard and committed, a couple of the songs delve too much into blues cliché. No one needs to do a song about a midnight train to Memphis in 2013. Aside from that, Sunshine On Me brings on a need to shake a tailfeather and sip an ice-cold beverage, and do that all night long."

OffBeat Magazine