Franco and the Stingers CD cover

Franco and the Stingers CD coverI Like It Just Like That

It seems like a long time since Franco Paletta & The Stingers last released Can’t Kick Love. But the wait is more than worth the time. I Like It Just Like That is a brilliant follow-up to that disc and surpasses it immensely. Utilizing the band that he won the Cascade Blues Association’s Journey To Memphis competition and took with him to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge, this is an ensemble that fires on the right track in every direction. The camaraderie between each member enhances one another, all masterful at their respective instruments. This is by far the finest collection of musicians Franco has ever worked with. And Franco himself has never sounded better on vocals and his harp work is dynamic.

Recorded at Droolin’ Dog Records and produced by Dave Alvey, Franco Paletta and Timmer Blakely, the album is filled with catchy tracks that take on a variety of blues directions. Opening with a strong harmonica and guitar pairing on “Oh Baby” the band kicks off in fine fashion, propelled by the added horns Joe McCarthy, Scott Franklin and Jeff Homan. Jason Thomas’ guitar bites with intensity, as he does throughout the album. Steve Kerin steps to the front on the third track with delicious keyboard work. He also pounds the ivories to perfection on numbers like “I Really Want To Sing The Blues” and “Red Hot Lovers.” The rhythm of Timmer Blakely on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums is rock solid, holding the whole band together flawlessly.

Personal highlights on this album filled with great numbers has to be the R&B feel of “It Brings A Tear,” sounding as if it could’ve been lifted from a soul recording from forty-fifty years ago. The Jason Thomas penned “Livin’ The Blues Again” showcases Thomas at his slow blues guitar best; quite moody in a walking the back streets in tears type moment that can raise the hair on the back of your neck. That is followed up with another great guitar number with “Gypsy Woman.” Franco’s churning harp on the title track is joyful and plays to effect the sense of his adoration for his life’s love. And of course there is “She’s My Little Girl,” a number that has become somewhat a trademark song of the band that just gets you into the mood to dance every time it’s played.

Franco Paletta’s songwriting continues to jump leaps and bounds. His voice is growing richer with flavor and emotion, which is only made more developed with those clever lyrics he is offering. I Like It Just Like That is the finest recording The Stingers have given to us yet; and if the progression of this band keeps growing the way it is, watch out for whatever they do next.

Total Time: 50:33

Oh Baby / Born To Please / When She Do That Thing She Do / She’s My Little Girl / I Like It Just Like That / Please Baby / Livin’ The Blues Again / Gypsy Woman / Red Hot Lovers / It Brings A Tear / I Really Want To Sing The Blues