Keep the Fire Burnin' — the
second serving of sonic gumbo from the Crescent City sextet
then known as
— offers up another batch of strong material, keeping in line
with the band's self-titled predecessor. The band once again
combines MOR rock with jazz, funk, and of course Creole R&B.
Pollard's songwriting remains consistent, with Haselden
also contributing two of the album's best entries, the affective "Call
Home the Heart" and the provocative fusion-filled "Thunder
n' Lightnin'." The opening track boogies with a
tasty Cajun syncopation, highlighted by performances from Medica
and Roddy. The aforementioned "Call Home the Heart"
is an introspective heart/homesick tale from the road.
considerable vocal harmonies shine during the chorus, bearing
rich textural similarities to the three-part blends created
the Eagles. As if continuing on a contextual leitmotif,
the driving "When I Get Home" is a celebratory indulgence,
sporting more impressive licks from Roddy and Peters with Roddy's
rapid-fire piano interjected for optimum effect. While on the
subject of adding that little extra something, helping out with
a string section score is legendary arranger
Gene Page on Pollard's power ballad "You Be My
Vision." Although they certainly get the Memphis vibe down,
fall short on their cover of
Otis Redding's "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song),"
which sounds too polished around the edges to be a truly effective
reworking. The jazzy "Feel It" is buoyed by Medica's
expressive bass and a sultry melody recalling "Back Slider"
from their first long-player. That groove carried over onto
the excellent "Thunder n' Lightnin'," and
presents a further opportunity to show off the band's superb
singing. Both the relaxed shuffle supporting "Say It (With
Your Heart)" and the funky closer, "Back to the Levee,"
are worthy of notice, particularly the latter, as it sets the
tone for their next effort, the Jai Winding-produced Up
in 1980. ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide
Pop Albums information about
Keep the Fire Burnin' on Answers.com.
Copyright © 2006 by All Media Guide. Published by All Media
If you like LeRoux's first album,
you will find that Keep the Fire Burnin' stays in
the same groove. The tunes bear no resemblance to the band's
future Eighties-metal offerings, and do sound very much like
material left over from the Louisiana's LeRoux recording
sessions. The CD's bonus tracks are the icing on the cake,
with airtight, soaring vocals and masterful playing. The much-too-short
standout "Rodeo" evokes a laid-back, surprisingly
country feel that showcases the band's vocal prowess. "Ain't
Nothing But A Gris Gris" is a haunting, funky dose of Cajun
voodoo, due in no small part to Roddy's piano chops—reminiscent
of Professor Longhair—and Medica's trademark syncopation.
Finishing off the CD is "Bon Ton Roulette," a rocking
R&B frolic with guitar licks trading shots with bouncy piano
lines, giving the song a New Orleans melodic vibe reminiscent
of "Crazy In Love" from LeRoux's debut offering.
Like that first album, Keep the Fire Burnin' is a
must-have. ~ Bryan Durio