The Mike Lucci Band – All In Good Time (Independent)
A big hit on the Virginia / Washington, DC blues scene since their inception in 2008, Mike Lucci and his band play a bright, vibrant form of Chicago blues. With a trio of vocalists, Shelly Thiss, Ron Winston (guitar and vocals) and Rick Manson (harmonica and vocals), they can handle upbeat floor-fillers, slinky sideways R&B shuffles and soulful, sultry, slow numbers without missing a beat.
As with all blues artists, and especially so with contemporary acts, they’ve honed their sound and style playing live, getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t, and writing and playing songs that suit themselves and their audience. Often transferring all that hard work into a studio setting, usually with time and financial constraints adding to the pressure, the results rarely match expectations. Fortunately that’s not the case here. “All In Good Time” is animated and feisty; everyone in the band seems on top form, and the album flows like an album should.
They begin with “My Babe”, with Manson and Winston combining beautifully, and the cleanliness of the production brings to mind the classic Yardbirds’ recordings of the late ‘60s. Thiss steps up to take lead for the first time on her self-penned “Take Me”, and it’s a sassy performance, with the band doing everything they can to keep up with the young vocalist. She’s just as good when she slows things down on the old Chubby Newsome / Irma Thomas chestnut “Hip Shakin Mama”.
Perhaps they’re at their most impressive on their “Hit the Road Jack / 16 Tons / Baby Please Don't Go” medley. The musicianship is lithe and nimble, the rhythm section providing rock steady support to the soloists, and the singers step up and impress through a series of call and response lines and some genuinely striking vocal interplay.