Steve Cropper - Dedicated: A Salute To The 5 Royales [429 Records FTN17845] (2011)

Dynamic Range Released: 2011
Country: US
Label: 429 Records
Catalog: FTN17845
Genre: Funk/Soul

Item# SR-FOFTN17845
Ratings: C=M-; LP=VG+

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Thirty Second Lover
Backing Vocals - Jon Tiven, Steve Cropper
Featuring: Organ, Lead Vocals - Steve Winwood

02 Don't Be Ashamed
Backing Vocals - Beth Hooker, Harry Stinson
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Bettye LaVette, Willie Jones

03 Baby Don't Do It
Backing Vocals - Angel Cropper, Beth Hooker, Harry Stinson
Featuring: Guitar, Lead Vocals - B.B. King
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Shemekia Copeland

04 Dedicated To The One I Love
Backing Vocals - Dylan LeBlanc, Keb Mo, Leroy Parnell
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Dan Penn, Lucinda Williams
Organ [Hammond] - Jon Tiven

05 My Sugar Sugar
Backing Vocals - Angel Cropper, Beth Hooker, Harry Stinson
Featuring: Lead Vocals - John Popper
Tambourine - Billy Block

06 Right Around The Corner
Backing Vocals - Jon Tiven, Keb Mo, Leroy Parnell
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Delbert McClinton
Saxophone, Soloist - Neal Sugarman

07 Think (Instrumental)
Backing Vocals - Angel Cropper, Beth Hooker, Harry Stinson
Saxophone, Soloist - Jon Tiven

08 Come On & Save Me
Backing Vocals - Beth Hooker, Buddy Miller, Harry Stinson, Jon Tiven, Steve Cropper
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Dylan Leblanc, Sharon Jones

09 Help Me Somebody (Instrumental)

10 I Do
Featuring: Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals - Brian May

11 Messin' Up
Backing Vocals - Angel Cropper, Keb Mo, Leroy Parnell
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Sharon Jones
Saxophone, Soloist - Neal Sugarman

12 Say It
Backing Vocals - Jon Tiven, Keb Mo, Leroy Parnell
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Bettye LaVette

13 Someone Made You For Me
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Dan Penn

14 The Slummer The Slum
Backing Vocals - Dan Penn, Jon Tiven, Keb Mo
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Buddy Miller
Guitar, Soloist - Buddy Miller, Steve Cropper

15 When I Get Like This
Featuring: Lead Vocals - Lucinda Williams

Dedicated: A Salute To The 5 Royales
Steve Cropper

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Album Review

Thom Jurek []

Steve Cropper has said in numerous interviews that his main influence as a guitarist was Lowman Pauling, chief songwriter, arranger, and axeman of North Carolina's 5 Royales, a '50s-era group that wedded doo wop, jump blues, gospel, and jazz in an R&B style that scored them numerous hits throughout the 1950s. The 5 Royales also featured lead vocalist Johnny Tanner (and occasionally younger brother Eugene) supported by backing singers Otto Jeffries, Jimmy Moore, and Obadiah Carter. Cropper was approached by producer Jon Tiven (who he'd previously worked with on the first of his two collaborations with Felix Cavaliere) about collaborating on a tribute album to the 5 Royales, and jumped at the chance. Dedicated: A Salute to the 5 Royales, which represents the latest chapter in a late-career resurgence for Cropper, one of the most influential soul guitarists in history, combines the talents of a red hot studio band -- Cropper, bassist David Hood, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, percussionist Steve Ferrone, drummer Steve Jordan, and Neal Sugarman and Tiven on horns. In addition, Cropper and Tiven enlisted a stellar group of vocalists to perform 5 Royales standards: Lucinda Williams, Sharon Jones, Bettye LaVette, Delbert McClinton, Willie Jones, B.B. King, Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Miller, Dan Penn, Brian May, Steve Winwood, John Popper, and Dylan LeBlanc, fronting a great cast of backing singers. Despite the historic material and arrangements, Dedicated is a decidedly contemporary recording in production, saving it from the dubious fate of numerous other tribute albums that seek to re-create the actual vibe of original recordings. It begins with an excellent rendition of ''Thirty Second Lover'' featuring Winwood, but, fine as it is, it's a teaser for what's to come. LaVette and Willie Jones tear up ''Don't Be Ashamed.'' On ''Dedicated to the One I Love,'' Williams literally sends shivers up and down the spine as she uses her gauzy, slow, emotive voice to wrench every ounce of emotion from the verses -- with Penn adding another dimension to them on the bridge. Speaking of Penn, an excellent but reluctant lead singer, his reading of ''Someone Made You for Me'' is one of the most unexpectedly endearing performances on the set. McClinton's ''Right Around the Corner'' puts these rhythm & blues in the heart of honky tonk country. The back-to-back readings of ''Messin' Up'' by Jones and ''Say It'' by LaVette come close to stealing the show -- but Williams still holds on with the title track and her searingly naked ''When I Get Like This'' as the closer. Cropper also takes a couple of economical but stinging instrumental breaks on ''Help Me Somebody'' and ''Think'' that reveal the depth of Pauling's genius as well as his own. Given what a mixed bag tribute albums usually are, Dedicated is not only a surprise for its consistency, but a shining example of what they can -- and should -- be.