Singer Al Corte’ is already 70 years old. As a teenager he sings in doowop bands in the 1960s, later rock ‘n’ roll and soulful blues bands like The Caveman and the Brass Tacks. When he moves to Florida in the mid-1970s, he becomes front man of show bands like Hot Ticket, Good Vibrations and Street Player. He acts in commercials and is a member of the theater company The Arizona Gunfighters who bring western shows. In the mid-1980s he has his own band, Corte’ until 1992 when he will work behind the scenes in the music business. In 2009 he goes on ‘retirement’ and moves to Arkansas. For fun, Al records some songs for his granddaughter. The engineer of the studio is impressed with Al’s voice and asks him for a rhythm ‘n’ blues project. In the winter of 2015 the cover album ‘Seasoned Soul’ will be released, a slightly disappointing album. The album is full of mediocre blues and soul covers. The Keys and Chords review then said: “Although his money had been spent better on a few songwriters and recorded ‘original’ material. This sounds like a boring routine cover band and I can find one of them in the club circuit every weekend. “It seems as if he was listening to us”, because the sequel ‘Mojo’ is formidable to say it with an understatement! Together with pianist Ron Miller he writes three songs and Ron adds nine more. They go to the Royal Studios in Memphis where, under the leadership of Willie Mitchell’s son, Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell, now owner of the Royal Studios, record a grandiose soul album. None other than the legendary Hi Rhythm Section, The Royal Singers, The Royal Horns, The Royal Strings and the Tennessee Mass Choir take part in this album. It is the top of all Memphis soul musicians and you can certainly hear that!
‘Mojo’, a rocking soul powered by drummer Steve Potts, opens the twelve-song album. The funky, Otis Clay-like ‘Love Thing’ sounds fresh. The horns sound overwhelming. Al sings completely relaxed in the romantic ‘Memphis Moon’ that sounds a bit like the modern Neville Brothers. Brad Webb lets his slide hem whine in the pounding rhythm ‘n’ blues ‘I’ll Never Lose My Love for The Blues’. On the Jimmy Hall-like ‘Juke Joint Jive’ and the country soul ‘What You Hold’, John Nemeth blows beautiful harmonics. The latter is also embellished by the Royal Singers and the Royal Strings. Ironing parties also return in the ballad ‘Blessed to Have You Near’. Deep soul can be heard in ‘It’s A Good Day’, 1970’s dance soul in ‘Touch’ and ‘I’m Ready’. ‘We’re Just a Boy and A Girl’ is a pop soul ballad, while closing song ‘You Hurt Me So Good’ is a piano ballad. The production of ‘Mojo’ is excellent, and the musicians are formidable. The addition of wind instruments, strings and backing vocals always comes at the right time. This is just a stoneware soul album!
Peter Jacobs (4 ½)
After the mediocre album ‘Seasoned Soul’ in 2015, Al Corte’ is back with a top-notch album ‘Mojo’ Recorded at the Royal Studios in Memphis with producer Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell, The Hi Rhythm Section, The Royal Horns, The Royal Strings and the magnificent Royal Singers, the songs in between deep soul, rhythm & blues ballads and blue soul. Songwriter Ron Miller and Al really did a fantastic job to create 12 exciting and catchy originals. This is a fantastic album with great soul music!