CD Review: Billy Rose & Blue Soul – The Ineffable Billy Rose

By: Rick Landers

BillyRoseCDDeeply rooted in the blues, songwriter-harp man Billy Rose & Blue Soul offer up, The Ineffable Billy Rose,  a soul filled album of longing, down-and-out and rumble and tumble.  Billy’s been on the blues scene for decades and has been a top music photographer, a fine blues musician and has hung out with the likes of the great Lonnie Mack and Texas blues man, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

From the funk-filled first track, “Doc Johnson’s International Love Tonic”, Blue Soul is tight and spot on with Rose tending to the swagger and jive. With its cool guitar groove, “Doc Johnson’s” is a track that would make Sam & Dave proud.The song has enough punch to knock you off your feet.

Next up, Billy Rose hits the accelerator with fast rolling rhythm and blues on “Philadelphia Shuffle”, that kicks in fast and ends way too soon – this song could and should have gone on for a few more minutes to satiate fast shuffle fans. Man, let’s see an extended version of this one in the near future.

Back to his Blue Soul funk machine, Rose offers a bit of tongue and cheek humor on “Moochie Moochie Moo” with some hip banter and some whining guitar tethered to a funk backbeat. With his girl offering some “Moochie Moochie Moo” this track is as much tongue in ear as it is tongue in cheek – it works.

Turn up your speakers for “Fire and Ice”, a song that delivers some hard nails rhythm and blues with a driving beat, a fine punch of backup singers and Billy on harp and lead vocal, where he comes out rough and tough in a track that just might persuade you get up and dance, shake, rattle and roll.

Guitarists will dig “Soul to Soul” with its heavy sting of blues guitar. But, then pianists will love the keys on this one too. Add Billy on vocals and you’ve got a triple-threat song that keeps The Ineffable Billy Rose moving forward in fine style.

“Shakin’” mixes it up with funk and blues with Billy Rose back in his storytelling mode and a touch of that fine blues axe-man delivering some cool six-string work.

Slowing things down to a confessional pace, Rose pulls our heart strings with his tender vocal  on “Running” that leads us through the struggle of his emotional isolation and his yearning to find a way out of his lonely wilderness.

“Convicted” is a steady drive blues track that pushes along with Rose’s fine vocal and Blue Soul delivering some thunder.  As the title says, this track is about “doing time” with the bluesman shrugging it off that he’s “doing fine”.

Following his song of incarceration blues, Rose gets in Chicago-blues mode with “Another Woman” that’s traditional, but captures the mood and you fall under its well-traveled path. Billy can stand it up and punch it out, as well as any other blues man out there.

“Fugitive Called Love” catches you off balance with it’s ‘80s sounding opening before Billy injects the flowery intro with steel-belted blues and Soul follows suit with some lead guitar that’s dripping with the blues.  This slow ballad has grit and gains traction each step of the way with Rose’s vocals and the guitar that finally opens up and rips things apart. Dig it.

As the album winds down, Billy Rose and Soul spring to life with an upbeat bouncy tune called, “Lady Katy”, before loading up for the finale, “Love Gangster” with a horn section and Rose back in full swagger mode, ready to steal your love away. Out comes Rose on harp and he nails it, running rough and ready before pulling back to let the guitar move in, only to be followed by Billy’s taking it up a notch with a spot on vocal.

The Ineffeable Billy Rose is a funk and blues romp that leaves room for some down and out ballads for us to wallow in. From top to bottom, there’s some great B.S. (Blue Soul) keeping things alive here, but front man Billy Rose takes charge and brings it all home. If you get a chance, check out this new release by Billy Rose and Blue Soul, you’ll dig it.


One Comment

  1. RainBroRandy (5 years ago)

    I was blessed with Billy playing & singing just for me & giving me the Harmonica. I’ll forever remember that evening. He’s better than Great.