Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music) (review)

Smokin’ lead guitars, gritty vocals – there’s a lot to like here

When Gregg Allman passed away earlier in the year, it may have signaled the end of the Allman Brothers, but thanks to band’s like Florida’s Tucci, their spirit lives on.  The four-piece has just released their latest album, Olivia.

The album benefits greatly from the presence of Larry McCray, who lends his fantastic vocals and stinging guitar to the majority of the album.  The disc opens with the blues shuffle of “High Roller,” where McCray and Steve Tucci trade off licks.  Saxophonist Shawn Murphy steps to the mic for “Olivia,” which features some very nimble slide work from Ira Stanley.  “I Don’t Need It” is a fantastic, minor blues, which spotlights some fine, Hammond B3 work from Donnie Richards.

There are echoes of the ‘Brothers in several places – “Hey Florida” begins with the riff from “One Way Out, while “Without You” begins with a familiar, twin harmony guitar that the Allmans were known for.  Completing the circle, Olivia also features what is believed to be the last known recording of Allman alumnus “Dangerous” Dan Toler (he handles the slide guitar on “Play By the Rules”).

Probably the most impressive aspect of Olivia is that all 11 tracks were written by the band, something rarely seen in this genre.

The things that made the Allman Brothers great – searing lead guitars, gritty vocals, and some Hammond organ thrown in for good measure – all these elements are kept alive on Olivia, the great new release from Tucci. -Tony Peters