Tony Adamo – What Is Hip?

March 2, 2011

Veteran crooner Tony Adamo, with his own jazzy/bluesy style of successfully taking a tune to whatever level he chooses, does a wonderful job of doing just that here with his latest, What Is Hip? Why that title? One guess. You got it! He’s recruited a couple of members of the notorious Tower of Power to help out on a few tracks on this project. Can’t do a thing but help, right?

The rhythm is snappy, bluesy, jazzy, bright, and full of character that Adamo always brings to every studio visit. One listen to the lead track, “Cold Duck Time (Groove On Line),” Rhythm of Your Love,” Grover’s “Make Me a Memory,” TOP’s poppin’ classic “What is Hip?,” and the oh-so-smooth-and-melodic “Ecstasy,” and you’ve got the picture. 

These tracks are quite simply superb selections by one who knows how to pick ‘em and how to write ‘em. One who knows how to feel ‘em and be able to tell if they’re “ripe” enough for his listening public. He generally doesn’t miss. The good ones seldom do.

In addition to writing really appealing originals, what Adamo does to the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” is remarkable.  He makes a statement.  There are other covers here that he does quite well (Richard Torrance’s “Rio De Janiero Blue” and The Temptations’ “The Way You Do The Things You Do” are two), but this one deserves a standing ovation.
Back to those catchy originals, “Nine Miles of Blue,” quite possibly my favorite here with its blues flavor, takes on the soul in places where real bluesmen live. The Hammond, the horns, Adamo’s vocals, and the melody all hook and just stay with you.  I’m sure that was his intent, and it worked. He follows that with an upbeat yet still rather bluesy track, “Mystery,” which takes off in a funky kinda way with plenty of attitude.
Adamo closes with the Tower of Power team behind him as they belt out the TOP original “This Time’s It’s Real,” which will make a believer out of any doubter.  Adamo is back with a swagger and a product in hand that should easily sell itself.  – Ronald Jackson