|Philly’s number one soul man, Frank Bey, returns with his sixth album and the second on the Nola Blue label, delivering a treatise on peace, love, empowerment and understanding. “All My Dues Are Paid” is an 11-song collection of glorious blues, funk and soul that showcases Bey’s powerful baritone and ever-positive worldview. He collaborated with Kid Andersen and Rick Estrin at Greaseland studios in San Jose, California, along with a cast of all-star players for what Bey describes as “one of the best albums he has ever recorded.”
The set opens with the furious cover of Eddie Palmieri and Harlem River Drive, Latin Soul Fusion prototype, ‘Idle Hands.’ Fiery horns jab emphasizing each point in the history lesson of civil rights and Bey challenges us all to give a damn. He then gives the break-up song from the Billy T Band, ‘One Of These Days,’ the red clay soul treatment he learned growing up in Georgia, with Lisa Leuschner Andersen echoing his lines with sweet chorus vocals and Jim Pugh layering Wurlitzer and B3 over the easy groove. Co-producer Rick Estrin brought in the Nightcats’ tune, ‘Calling All Fools,’ adding horns and keys to the droll swinging blues. The Sons Of The Soul Revivers join Bey with backing vocals on the first of two covers of “Mighty” Mike Schermer tunes, ‘It’s A Pleasure,’ adding depth to the joyful modern R&B track. Bey collaborated with Andersen, Estrin and Texas troubadour Kathy Murray, to write the autobiographical title track ‘All My Dues Are Paid.’ The sizzling Memphis soul blues finds him looking back on his life and those who tried to deter him, but he boldly declares “they didn’t know, there ain’t no way to stop Frank Bey, it’s my time to shine.”
Bey demonstrates his depth by covering what is considered the greatest country song of all time, ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ putting his own mark on the beloved George Jones’ standard. Nancy Wright drops in bodacious saxophone on another Nightcats’ tune, the slinky ‘I’ll Bet I Never Cross Your Mind,’ perfectly flavoring the cabaret jazzy blues to match Bey’s Louis Jordan-like vocals. The first of two deep cuts from the catalog of the “poet laureate of the blues,” Percy Mayfield, is the raucous jump blues from 1962 ‘Never No More,‘ delivered with authentic fire on a great arrangement fueled by the rhythm section of Paul Olguin on bass and drummer Paul Ravelli, alongside Nightcats’ keyboardist Lorenzo Farrell and of course Kid Andersen on guitar and a hot horn section. The second is a ridiculously out of print and hard to find track from the profoundly under recognized blues singer songwriter, ‘Ha Ha In The Daytime.’ Written during the time Mayfield was writing and recording for Ray Charles, the easy loping blues pays tribute to both icons.
He then sheds light on another often overlooked singer, the country soul pioneer Arthur Alexander, with an enduring cover of the sentimental love song, ‘If It’s Really Got To Be This Way,’ that was first recorded before his untimely death in 1993 after being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame. Bey pays tribute to another unlikely hero by transforming Lou Reed’s avant-garde piano ballad ‘Perfect Day’ into a gospel-fueled power ballad. He then continues his sermon on the joyful ‘One Thing Every Day,’ encouraging us all to make the world a better place. The full breadth of Bey’s artistic and emotional power is brought to bear in the dynamic showstopping arrangement of John Lennon‘s ‘Imagine,’ that builds to a glorious grand finale.
The liner notes include the quote, “in my music, I just want to lift people up, and let them know, there is better days.” The album, “All My Dues Are Paid,” continues this mission for Frank Bey and the world is blessed by his efforts.
Rick J Bowen
Born and raised in Millen, Georgia, Frank Bey began his singing career performing gospel at the tender age of four. Along with his brother and two cousins, their group “The Rising Sons” toured around The South making live appearances as well as radio broadcasts. At age 17 he joined the Otis Redding Revue working as the opening act for several years. During his time with Otis Redding, Frank learned to captivate and mesmerize an audience with a song.
In the early 1970s, he formed a tight-knit radical funk group – Moorish Vanguard. But in a record deal gone wrong with James Brown, it all fell apart. Abandoned by his closest friends, Frank quit singing for 17 years. Eventually, Frank would find that he could never walk away from his dream. He returned to music, and despite a sudden battle with kidney failure, connected with an internationally touring blues band.
Frank has received multiple Blues Music Award nominations for Soul Blues Artist of the Year and for Soul Blues Album of the year. “Back In Business” received the Independent Music Awards Gold Medal, in addition to nominations in the Blues Blast Music Awards and the Independent Blues Awards.