Pin It

CD Review: Big Joe Fitz 



This is Big (2010, Independent)

Rosendale’s Big Joe Fitz belongs to a long line of R&B performers equally at home onstage or behind a radio microphone. When he’s not spinning the blues on WDST, he’s singing it on stages throughout the Hudson Valley. Of course, he knows his stuff from years on the station’s “The Blues Break,” and it shows with his new album, This Is Big. The mellow Fitz goes right to the well, with selections from Ray Charles, Jerry Ragovoy, Doc Pomus, Dr. John, Charles Brown, and Eddie Vinson. His backing band on most tracks includes bass buddy (and album engineer) Robert Bard, drummer Tim Whalen, and ace New Paltz guitarist Mark Dziuba. Unfortunately, Fitz only pulls his harp out for “Last Go Round” and the album wants for more of those tasty, bent reeds. Vocally, Fitz clearly goes for traditional R&B tropes and he’s got just enough smoke on tunes like “Lonesome Train” to both rock and roll.

Occasionally, though, he seems more concerned with hitting the right notes than with letting his soul show. On Harlan Howard’s classic “The Chokin’ Kind,” Fitz swerves wide of the kind of emotion the song requires, even demands. Artists as varied as Waylon Jennings and Joe Simon have done right by this one, but Fitz nearly makes it chipper. He does get it right, though—and how—on “Hard Times” (with pianist Jumpin’ Jack), “Tweedle Dee,” and the opening “Leap of Faith.” On the last, Fitz goes toe to toe with Delbert McClinton’s reading and still manages to leave his own funky stamp. www.bigjoefitz.com.

click to enlarge cd-big-joe-fitz.jpg

Speaking of...

  • Michael Eck reviews Big Joe Fitz's album "This is Big."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • CD Review: Christine Spero's "Spero Plays Nyro"

    Why and how dare she devote an entire album to songs by Laura Nyro when we can just listen to the originals on Spotify? I'll tell you why. Because Christine Spero fully inhabits these songs, uncovers hidden nuances, and with her stunning ensemble—including drummer Peter O'Brien, bassist Scott Petito, saxophonist Elliot Spero, and Christine's own magic hands on the ivories.
    • Aug 1, 2015
  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

  • Art of Business: Bardavon
  • Art of Business: Bardavon

    See a show at the Bardavon this season. You won't be disappointed.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Turning the Turntables
  • Turning the Turntables

    This month, we once again ring in the new year with a specially selected panel of Hudson Valley music mavens, who run down their top releases of 2016 and talk current crushes and future faves along the way.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson

    Handpicked by music editor Peter Aaron for your listening pleasure.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Michael Eck

Hudson Valley Tweets