Album Review: Steve Cropper - Dedicated

11 June 2012 | 2:37 pm | Scott Aitken

Dedicated is a great album and reminds us how influential Cropper has been.

On Dedicated, legendary Booker T & The MG's guitarist Steve Cropper pays tribute to one of his biggest influences, The 5 Royales – a relatively obscure '50s R&B group who were a significant link between early R&B and soul despite attaining only modest commercial success.

The album features well-known guest artists covering songs by The 5 Royales, backed by Cropper and a skilled session band. With guest artists, there's almost always hits and misses when it comes to reimagining someone else's work. While BB King and Shemekia Copeland show great chemistry and spark on Don't Do It, Lucinda Williams' raspy Southern voice doesn't seem to gel with the band on Dedicated To The One I Love; the song as a whole seems unbalanced. Similarly Dylan LeBlanc's vocals sound thin compared to the power of Sharon Jones on Come On & Save Me. On the other hand, Brian May nails I Do, blending the song with his signature Queen guitar sound and vocals by creating a Night At The Opera/Blues Brothers mash-up that somehow works perfectly.

Sharon Jones trades vocal licks with Cropper's guitar on Messin' Up, one the funkiest highlights of the album. Cropper's playing shines throughout, particularly instrumentals Help Me Somebody and Think. It's no wonder he's known as one of the greatest guitarists alive.

Dedicated is a great album and reminds us how influential Cropper has been. Simultaneously it introduces us to one of the many bands from that era that wrote a heap of classics yet without getting the recognition they deserved at the time. And, as the years go by and artists pass away, albums like Dedicated will ensure their music and legacies don't.

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