A soul/blues connection


Tad Robinson’s CD Release Party

Slippery Noodle Inn

Thursday, April 12, $5

The latest album from local blues singer Tad Robinson, A New Point of View (Severn), is a valentine to Memphis soul music.

“Memphis soul is some of the stuff that inspires me the most,” Robinson says. “Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Ann Peebles. What’s not to like? My producer added horns and even strings that harken back to Isaac Hayes and all that good old time soul music.”

The album features soul stirrers like “Long Way Home,” “You Get to Keep the Love” and “Ain’t That Loving You (for More Reasons than One),” along with the bluesy “Broken-Hearted Man” and “Two of a Kind Blues.”

Robinson says the ratio of soul to blues has always been unintentional, but consistent.

“I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve done five records, and they all end up having the same ratio of 80 percent soul and 20 percent good ol’ funky blues,” he says. “That has always echoed in my live shows. Typically, I’ll choose some stone blues tunes with wailing harmonica and guitar. Then I’ll pick some soul stuff. The records have reflected the live stuff.”

Robinson says at one time, combining two musical cousins might have caused confusion with his listeners.

“It used to be dangerous to do that [combine soul and blues]. People used to say, ‘It’s neither fish nor foul. What is this guy? Is he a blues guy who blows harp, or is he a soul singer?’ In the business now, there’s the category of soul/blues,” Robinson says. “I don’t know who came up with that name, but it really fits certain artists.”

Matthew Socey is host of The Blues House Party, Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WFYI 90.1 FM.