Still Lovin’ You – Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise
Vanguard Records 79733-2
Like a fine wine, music is something that can mature and become better with
age. This is proven on Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise's Still
Lovin' You. The first version of the titular track was written by
Bradley in 1968. Soulful and hypnotic, the song is the best of the past and
the best of the present at the same time. Chalk it up to life's experiences,
to Blackwater Surprise backing him up, or just to the natural progression
that the song itself took on, but Bradley couldn't have picked a better tune
as the album's namesake.
He looks back to the past again on his cover of Isaac Hayes' "I Thank You."
I'm extremely picky about covers — it seems like those who are reinventing
the songs can't ever manage to do them justice. But Robert Bradley and
Blackwater Surprise have what it takes. They don't lose much of the original
tone of the song, but they still manage to make it their own. Bradley's
slightly gritty voice works perfectly, and the instrumental behind it is a
bit faster than Hayes', but it definitely gives the song a more upbeat feel.
Bradley cites Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye as his soulful influences, and
with even one listen to Still Lovin’ You this is obvious. The piano
is ever present, and his ballads are packed with emotion. He slows things
down with "Anna," a heartfelt ballad about his estranged daughter in which
he croons, "f you see her up in Boston or maybe out on the West Coast,
aw-please tell Anna her Dad miss her so, way down in my soul." With a piano
providing the majority of the music, nothing can distract from his pain.
Other notable tracks include "Virginia," "All I Wanna Do" and the satirical
"Hollywood." Bradley feels that his songs should be listened to when the
listener has time to reflect on their meanings. He's absolutely right —
soulful Southern blues, rhythm and blues, and a touch of jazz make them the
perfect soundtrack for a long Sunday drive, an evening by the fire with
someone special, or just relaxing in the backyard hammock.