Play 90 second soundbite of 'A Change Must Come' @ 'CD quality'
Of it's kind, 'Energized' is one of the finest live recordings I've heard for a very long time. The band play very much as a unit; Allison grinding out his trademark silky guitar work and stunningly easy-on the-ear vocals supported magnificently by the beautifully poised and atmospheric keyboards of Mike Vlahakis and the super-tight rhythm section of bassman Jassen Wilber and drum-man Andrew Thomas. Of course, each member gets ample opportunity to show-off a little with the blues-obligatory solo slots but generally these guys just effortlessly roll out their wares with stunning control and respect for the songs, each other and their audience.
With 'Energized' Bernard Allison makes me remember everything I ever found exciting about the contemporary electric blues scene; it doesn't have to be a dirge of slit-yer-throat songs and raw sounding instrumentation. On the contrary, 'Energized' is actually an remarkably up-lifting work due, in the main, to its stunning musicianship. It's rammed full of passionate, sensitive playing on both individual and combined levels. It's a hell of a big chunk of a work that never once slips into any same-ness of groove or feel ; there's a groove here for every individual preference and every day of the week - it's live and alive. 'Energized' is a supreme work of solid electric blues - a quality work - a reminder that the blues can still be wholesome, refreshing and totally kick-ass!!
If I have just one single criticism it would have to be that on disc two there's the odd, and I feel unnecessary, excursion into some 'Amazing Grace' gimmicky type stuff - but hey, I can excuse that when I look at the overall content here!
Bernard Allison's 'Energized' is blues re-sensitized, blues re-vitalized, blues re-energized!