The new Tucci Band album Olivia (2017 Hideaway Records) is a first rate rockin’ blues CD featuring the twin influences of the Chicago blues and the Allman Brothers Band sound that Steve Tucci has been associated with for a long time. “Doc” Tucci (yes.. he is a real doctor!) assembled a stellar cast of singers and guitar players to assist him (on guitar) and his brother Michael (on drums) including Larry McCray (vocals, guitar), Shawn Murphy (vocals, sax), Al Owen (vocals), Harry DeBusk (bass), Ira Stanley (slide guitar), Bob Dielman (guitar), Donnie Richards (organ) and Dan Ryan (keyboards). And on one very special cut, Play By the Rules, you get to hear one of the last recordings of the incredible Dan Toler on guitar. (Dan was with the Allman Brothers Band for three albums, the Greg Allman band on their hit records, and with Dickey Betts Great Southern band.)
Larry McCray is a fabulous bluesman in his own right with over a half dozen previous albums. He is featured on my favorite cut from the CD, High Roller, as well as on I Don’t Need It, and the grindin’ blues tunes You Hurt Me and Without You. I also enjoyed the title cut Olivia which is a funky blues song sung by Shawn Murphy and featuring some great slide guitar work by Ira Stanley. Additionally, Train Blues is a nice southern rockin’ blues jam that has some fantastic dueling guitar riffs from Steve and Larry.
This album does a great job of furthering the vision that Steve and Dan Toler had established on the first and only Toler Tucci Band album, Doc’s Hideaway. Dan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease during the recording of that album and passed away shortly after it was completed in early 2013. The two of them wanted to write and record in an atmosphere of friendship and comradery. With Olivia, that vision has been actualized among a group of friends who just happen to be some of the finest blues men on the planet. The CD demonstrates that the blues brotherhood they desired is alive and well and turnin’ out some bad ass tunes…Dan Toler would be proud!!