For the recording of Real Street, singer/harmonica player Tad Robinson traveled to the birthplace of Southern soul: Memphis, Tennessee. There he teamed up with Memphis music legends, organist, Charles Hodges; bassist, Leroy Hodges; and the drummer, Howard Grimes, collectively known as the Hi Rhythm Section at Scott Bomar’s, Electraphonic Recording. The results are ten glorious tracks of blues-infused and passionate soul music. Throughout six originals and four reimagined covers, Robinson’s singing has never been so focused and fluent in the language of the blues and his subtle harmonica playing adds just the right spice to the mix.
Memphis guitarist, Joe Restivo; trumpeter, Marc Franklin; tenor saxophonist, Kirk Smothers; and current Fabulous Thunderbirds pianist, Kevin Anker round out the band on these exciting new tracks, with background vocals handled by Chicagoan, Devin B. Thompson.
From the ebullient shuffle, opener, Changes, to the poignant immediacy of George Jackson’s ballad, Search Your Heart, each song is a showpiece with the Memphis groove-makers’ interlocking parts evoking a timeless Southern soul-blues landscape made new again.
Robinson, an eight-time Blues Music Award-nominated singer, croons on the wry, self-deprecating account of the departure of his bored lover in Full Grown Woman, gets gritty and gospel-soulful on the wistful and radio-friendly, Love In The Neighborhood, and riffs and weaves his way through his joyful reworking of Roy Orbison’s, You Got It.
The Memphis veterans lay down a beautiful understated backing for Robinson’s story-telling on this collection, plucking just the right riff, chord change and color out of the Memphis air, bearing witness to their rarified status as architects of the Southern soul sound.
Real Street is an earthy, straight-from-the-gut-to-the-heart collection that fans of soul and blues music will cherish.
The sound, the feel and the joyful chemistry captured on this album speak to the enduring richness of Southern soul. Recorded in Memphis with the Hi Rhythm Section and several other standout musicians, a walk down Real Street with Tad Robinson is a real treat for soul-blues fans.
Tad Robinson: Vocals, Harmonica
Charles Hodges: Hammond Organ
Leroy Hodges: Bass
Howard Grimes: Drums
Joe Restivo: Guitar
Kevin Anker: Wurlitzer electric piano
Marc Franklin: Trumpet and Horn arrangements
Kirk Smothers: Saxophone
Devin B. Thompson: Background vocals
Executive Producer: David Earl
Produced by Tad Robinson
Recorded by Scott Bomar at Electraphonic Recording, Memphis, TN on August 28 – September 1, 2018
Additional engineering by Adam Hill
Additional recording by David Earl at Severn Sound Studio, Annapolis, MD on January 7-11, 2019
Tad Robinson’s lead vocal tracks 3, 6 & 7 were recorded at Electraphonic Recording; tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 & 10 were recorded at Severn Sound Studio
Devin B. Thompson’s background vocals were recorded at Severn Sound Studio
Mixed by David Earl at Severn Sound Studio
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering, Takoma Park, MD
Photography by Rich Voorhees, Voorhees Studio, Inc., Logansport, IN
Recording session photography by Spencer Johnson, Creation Studios, Memphis, TN
Graphic Design by Al Brandtner, Brandtner Design, Chicago, IL
Heartfelt thanks to The Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Creative Renewal Fellowship Program and to David Earl at Severn Records for making this project possible.
Additional thanks to Amy Robinson, Ernest Disney-Britton, John Németh, Dave Keller, Norbert Krapf, Katherine Krapf, Craig Curry, Bridget Earl, Steve Gomes, Dave Murray, Rosalind Withers, Connor Scanlon, Will Porter, Alex Schultz, Chris Vitarello, Gordon Bonham, Thomas D. Adelman, Avery Robinson, Tyler Robinson, Paul Holdman, Jeff Chapin, Greg Nagy, Erkan Özdemir, Donny Granger, Spencer Johnson, Brad Chester, and Creation Studios.
Tad Robinson endorses Hohner Harmonicas exclusively
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