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New Pick of the Week

February 16, 1995|RANDY LEWIS

Mighty Sam McClain

"Keep On Movin' "

AudioQuest

The follow-up to McClain's 1993 return from obscurity includes no great surprises. In the case of this potent R&B-soul-blues singer, that's not a problem.

What the album may lack in innovation, it more than makes up for with a mighty, mighty passion. It's hard to imagine anyone making loneliness more palpable than McClain does in "I'm So Lonely," which he sings with a feral cry that reaches a terrifying climax. Likewise, his expression of repentance in "I'm Sorry" could not sound more humble.

The emotions he conjures speak of a hard life, one lived without a millimeter of distance from its many moments of sorrow or exaltation. The latter is tapped in his version of "Lord Will Make a Way" by Al Green, whose gossamer vocal style is mirrored in McClain's graceful performance.

His horn-driven band plays with a fire to match its leader's, nimbly handling jumping blues, silky soul and stirring gospel.

This album gives McClain a hefty one-two punch from the recording studio. Now, when's the tour?

Available by mail through AudioQuest Music, P.O. Box 6040, San Clemente, CA 92674.

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