Anthony Geraci — “Blues Called My Name” — Blue Heart Records
Anthony Geraci has been tickling the ivories since he was about four years old, and we should be tickled blues (not pink) that he is still going strong. (Okay, maybe the tickling metaphor is a bit lame. But there it is.)
With more than 40 years of keyboard performing to his credit, Geraci is an original member of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. For this outing, he fronts the Boston Blues All-Stars on piano and Hammond, with a bunch of talented guests who help make this a special recording.
The album is a sparkling set of 10 original, self-produced songs, half of them instrumental, but all showcases for Geraci and some talented friends.
The album kicks off with “Old Pine Box,” a whimsical little ditty, with Sugar Ray Norcia easily handling the vocals. This is the same Norcia whose Bluestones once featured Geraci on keyboards.
Next is the title track, one of my favorites here, again featuring Norcia on vocals, adding plaintive guitar by Monster Mike Welch and insistent piano from Geraci. A splendid blend of talents for some straight-ahead blues.
The first instrumentals follow: a jazzy, Latinesque “About Last Night” features Geraci’s impeccable Hammond styling, and “Boston Stomp” does exactly what it says. The torchy “Corner of Heartbreak and Pain” is up next, with a passionate vocal by Erika Van Pelt, embraced by Geraci’s eloquent piano. Geraci adds his own voice to the mix as he romps through the upbeat “I Go Ooh,” with more sturdy keyboards.
Norcia returns for the final vocal number with “I Ain’t Going to Ask” (for your love no more….), with another piano romp driving the proceedings.
The other instrumentals are “Into the Night,” as Walter Trout leads with pleading guitar; “Wading in the Vermillion,” with Anne Harris on violin and finally, “Song for Planet Earth,” an old-fashioned piano solo that allows Geraci to demonstrate his considerable mastery.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, finely crafted session that moves elegantly through an eclectic set of excellent music.
By the way, Geraci and the Boston Blues All-Stars were a 2021 Blues Music Award nominee in the ‘Band of the Year’ category, while Geraci was nominated for the sixth consecutive time in the ‘Instrumentalist Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award) category. That was the year that Geraci finally won that award.
“The Blues Called My Name” video: