Rob Cassels – Thunder Fire


Rob Cassels - Thunder Fire Before it got shortened to R&B, there was Rhythm and Blues. But instead of Beyoncé, you should be thinking along the lines of John Lee Hooker or the Allman Brothers. Rob Cassels says that he has been playing piano and guitar all his life. And that he cannot suppress the urge to write songs that express his gratitude for all that God has done through Christ.

Some of his earlier offerings were ‘Off the Wall’ (1984) and ‘Straight Shot’ (1988), with an anthology released in 2009. His latest endeavour ‘Thunder Fire’ (2012) sees Rob on lead vocals, piano, a 1968 Hammond organ, guitars, harmonica and percussion. He is joined by Sam Eakins (electric & acoustic guitar), Darrell Thompson (electric & acoustic bass) and Mark Childress (drums & percussion).

Now when you think of the blues, there are connotations of sad songs where a whiskey-soaked man relates how he lost his job, his wife left him and his dog has died. However, Rhythm & Blues takes the other side of the tracks and rejoices in the positive, life-affirming experiences. Rob’s gritty vocals gives it a down-to-earth humbleness.

The album opens with the soulful blues of the title track with twinkling piano and well-placed sprinklings of female backing vocals. “God can do anything / You better believe / Make your heart sing / Make it ring / Knock you to your knees / Shoot a bolt of lightning / hear the thunder fire”. Then they unleash the searing guitar and tear it up as the good times roll in ‘Loves Ya To The Bone’.

There is the celebratory rock of ‘Resurrection Power’ followed by the wonderfully ironic, laid-back ‘The Devil’s Got The Blues’. “He knows he’s gonna lose / Couldn’t work out his plan / All because of just one man”. They cause another ruckus with a rollicking up-tempo ‘Psalm 23’ before take a reflective move in ‘What’s That Voice’ (featuring a harmonica solo). Further on there is another helping of soulful blues in ‘Pearl Of Great Price’.

Like a fine wine, some things take time to mature. And this has reached the perfect time for uncorking and getting on with the celebrations.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

1. Thunder Fire
2. Loves Ya To The Bone
3. Resurrection Power
4. The Devil’s Got The Blues
5. Psalms 23
6. What’s That Voice?
7. Wake Up Call
8. Gotta Serve Somebody
9. Rock Of Refuge
10. I Will Never Leave You
11. Pearl Of Great Price
12. You
13. Thunder Fire Reprise

Record label: Independent, Oct. 2012

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Video below “Loves Ya to the Bone”

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