Hotel Paradise (2016)

Don Mularz - lead vocals, lead, slide & rhythm guitar
Scott Lane - guitar & vocals
John Tillman - lead & rhythm guitar
Richard Taylor - bass & vocals
Raul Hernandez - drums & percussion
Bob Taylor - piano, synthesizer, organ & vocals

Additional musicians :
Tony Aiello - tenor & baritone saxophone
Don Harris - trumpet
Marshall Gilkes - trombone
Bob Taylor - horns arrangement
Beth Cohen - background vocals
Robbie Dupree - harmonica

Titles :
01. Breezin' - 3:11
02. Coconut Jive - 3:52
03. High Five - 5:41
04. Monroe County Line - 3:01
05. Out Of Time - 3:44
06. South Miami Midnight - 4:38
07. Mambo Mama - 4:46
08. You Don't Play Nice - 3:24
09. A Car With Fins - 4:01
10. Highway 27 - 3:54
11. If I Could Get You Alone – 7:41

To qualify Florida of real musical breeding ground and to repeat non-stop this obvious fact, it is to show not premature senility but lucidity. Dark Horse Flyer still proves it with this luxurious "Hotel Paradise" who turns to a certain Southern rock stamped beginning of the seventies. A Southern rock crossed with blues, jazz and funk, played at their time by bands as Wet Willie, Stillwater or Louisiana’s Leroux. Some touches of Atlanta Rhythm Section, of the early Charlie Daniels, of the Allman Brothers Band also come to sprinkle this classy record. The members of the band take the road for a long time, maybe they did not shine under the spotlights of the glory but they possess all the assets required for this so particular musical genre (style, fluidity, technique and feeling). The album starts with « Breezin’ », a « Southern boogie » instrumental Charlie Daniels style. Two guitars and an organ send their solo each their turn and the breaks remain by moment the style of Doc Holliday. All of that sounds really Southern ! Some red hot six-string fire « Coconut Jive », a blues-rock tinged with funk with a solo of keyboard close to the jazz-rock of Sea Level. With its cocktail rock/jazz/funk, « High Five » illustrates perfectly the influences quoted above (Wet Willie, Stillwater, Leroux). A solo of a tactfully overdriven guitar stretches all in feeling. Three titles lapse into the mid tempo funky register : « Monroe County Line », « Mambo Mama » (with a could not do more Southern slide) and « You Don't Play Nice ». « South Miami Midnight » (a Southern rock with a medium tempo Charlie Daniels style) is endowed with a magnificent break and the Southern boogie don’t let it go to the dogs with « A Car With Fins » (which proposes a damned guitar solo and an effective slide) and the overexcited « Highway 27 » (which makes stamp the feet with its harmonica and its very good piano solo). « If I Could Get You Alone », a funky blues Allman Brothers Band style, gets excited over the end for an exchange of furious guitars. All this is excellent but the magnificent "Out Of Time" stands out from the set to pocket the price of the best tune of the album. This beautiful melodic « country/pop song » hits straight at heart with a magnificent harmonic construction, a remarkable organ solo and a fabulous guitar. A really sublime tune ! This classy record will delight the lovers of the music but will probably have difficulty in being on the radio because of its quality but also of the chosen musical style. Yes, some will claim that all this sounds "dated" and too much "70’s". We can always answer them that the talent is timeless and does without fashions. In fact, the song " Out of time " should have given its title to this actually timeless album. Maybe « Hotel Paradise » will not exceed the threshold of the American "charts" but will stay for a long time in our hearts !

Olivier Aubry

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