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By: Sheryl Bryant
If you are a blues and/or blues rock fan, or even a Southern rock fan there’s something for you in this CD. I thoroughly enjoyed this blues driven CD with its Southern rock flavor. There are also shades of several genres that sort of cast their own little shadows within each song.
I always listen to a CD I am reviewing three times in its entirety to get a better feel for it. I took To Be A Simple Man on the road with me in my car and it’s as good traveling as it is sitting still. I listened to it on my home stereo system as well. This studio session of Temple’s material was extremely well engineered. I can only imagine how good it would sound to hear Lanny Temple perform these songs live.
All nine of the tunes are relevant to so many people's lives. They speak a lot to the South and to the men and women who make it their home. But they speak to universal themes as well. The songs speak to love won and lost; to emotional pain and the joy of everyday living. They speak to pride and beliefs. I get the feeling that this is an honest account of a Central Carolina country boy whose life was colored by his love of the blues. It rings true and authentic. The songs transcend across other regions and they definitely cross into Muddy Waters territory.
I like the fact that Temple can deliver gritty and gruff and go maverick, then turn around and slightly soften the sound just a touch to accent the lyrics. He also has showcased his ability to mix the raw rootsy blues with a little polish to give the CD some diversity. It is such a plus that each song differs. On a scale of 1 – 10, I’m giving this CD a strong 8.75.
Here’s my personal take of each individual track.
The first track, “Baby! Baby!" is upbeat and energetic. This tune was like kindling on a fire, good for stirring up the blaze of blues to follow.
"The Crispee Creem Song" - You can feel the Muddy Waters style rush over you like the ole’ black water of the Mississippi on this number. It’s got that salacious down and dirty vibe to it.
"The Devil is a Woman" - Well, I guess if many consider their God is a woman too, then her polar opposite could very well be of the female gender! Either way, I’m hearing Howlin’ Wolf of late and Steve Earle of conventional inside this wickedly good “she done me wrong” ballad.
“Don’t Make No Difference At All” - I really felt like I was listening to a tune that The Band penned on this fourth track, which is definitely a positive. This is a neatly wrapped song, it rolls country, folk and the blues into a big fat stogie, then smokes it!
"Goin‘ Rebel" - Plainly stated, a no nonsense, just cocky enough, blue collar statement song with a simple but powerful message: “Just be yourself. Come on, Get Rebel!”
"Mess of Blues" - Temple gets all the nuances right on this traditional cut. Hearing this song I envisioned John Lee Hooker listening to it for the first time. It’s a steamy, hot summer day, he’s got his hat tilted on his head and sweat is dripping from his brow.
"The Task" - Love this bluesy cowboy-like lament with really clever lyrics and an edgy rocking vibe. Who hasn’t struggled with letting go of something or someone?
"To Be A Simple Man" - Title track where steel guitar embraces and captures the message so well. My ears tell me I’m feeling Lanny's work in progress efforts to be the best man he can be. I hear Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top influences in this little gem.
"With You" - One of my favorites of the CD. We ladies love a committment song, where our man professes his undying love for us. What makes this one special is its heartfelt and believable. Lyrically it is the strongest cut on the disc in my opinion. It lays open Mr. Temple’s heart (with all its past wounds) and its present passion, where love, fidelity and loyalty rule.
I’m really impressed with all elements of this CD from start to finish. It’s not everyday that a musician wears so many hats like L.O. Temple did on To Be A Simple Man. All of the songs are written and produced by Temple. He handled lead vocals, acoustic and rhythm guitars, organ, bass, and drums. *On lead/slide guitars is Ronnie Waters, except for on “With You.” On backing vocals is Krissy Allen. On tambourine and eggs is Lanny’s son, Lanny D. Temple.
The disc was engineered and recorded by Keith Houston at KHP Music. KHP Music is located at 307 East Broad Street in Dunn, NC 28334. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.khpmusic.com for more information. The phone number for KHP is 919-892-4800. Clearly, there was some hard work put in and care taken to assure such a solid CD. You can also take a listen at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lotemple2