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One More Bridge to Cross by Mighty Sam McClain

The music on One More Bridge to Cross by vocalist Mighty Sam McClain certainly provides evidence that in terms of a basic "sound" there may be only a thin veil of difference between the blues and gospel music, and in many ways these two styles may merely be two sides of the same musical coin. McClain’s singing style and back-up band also further the tradition of the gospel inspired sounds of 1960’s Southern Soul--that great music that emerged from the Stax and Fame studios of Memphis and Muscle Shoals.

The pairing of the sacred with the profane is continuous through this CD. McClain includes, almost side by side, songs that convey a loftier theme interlaced right along with songs that have a much more earthy subject matter. For example the CD opens with the Joe Hardin song "Why Do We Have to Say Goodbye," followed by a McClain original, "Witness." "Open Up Heaven’s Door," another McClain original begins simply with piano-only accompaniment then fills out with organ and a wonderfully dusky saxophone solo. A funky and rollicking version of the Big James Montgomery song "If It Wasn’t 4 Da Blues," follows. To this listener, the standout tune and perhaps the best "hook" is on the refrain of the Joe Hardin song "Been There, Done That." Regardless of a "polar" change in subject matter from one song to another, throughout the recording, McClain’s vocals and his back up band maintain a satisfying punch and a tight, driving musical context. Of the thirteen songs that make up the over 63 minutes of the recording, nine are originals by McClain. In addition to songs by Hardin and Montgomery, session guitarist Chris Tofield also contributed one original, "Don’t Leave Me Behind," on which he features himself as a soloist along with McClain’s vocals.

One More Bridge to Cross by Mighty Sam McClain provides a veritable smorgasbord of great Black music--music that is a part blues, part gospel, sometimes funky, but always soulful. To fans of great American music, and in particular fans of the sound of Southern Soul, this CD would be a valuable addition to their musical collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mighty Sam McClain
  • CD Title: One More Bridge to Cross
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: City Hall Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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