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Rico McFarland: Tired of Being Alone

Rico McFarland, a longtime sideman to Chicago blues diva Big Time Sarah and Chicago blues harp legend James Cotton, steps out with his debut as a leader on Tired of Being Alone (Evidence 26113-2; 49:48). From the funk of “Bad Attitude” to the Memphis-style soul of “It Ain’t No Fun to Me” to a gospel inflected rendition of Joan Osborne’s “What If God Were One of Us” (a duet with soul singer Otis Clay), McFarland sings and plays with requisite soul while also showing some pop-R&B leanings, as on his faithful cover of “Rockin’ Chair.” His more straightforward blues tendencies come across on “Johnny B,” featuring some great harp work by Sugar Blue, and the infectious shuffle “Little by Little,” which pairs him with another blues harp ace, Billy Branch. A versatile talent with a strong frontman presence, McFarland is bound to branch out further from here.

Originally Published