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Akeem Kemp w/ Cherry Red
November 18, 2017 @ 10:00 pm - 2:00 am| $7.00
His debut album, I Like It All, was recorded while Akeem Kemp was only 18 years old and still in high school. You wouldn’t realize that though listening to his voice. His baritone voice has that timber that you would expect from a mature blues musician. Overall this is a good debut for a budding artist. There are a couple of throwaway tracks where more effort could have been put into the development but the majority of the album is quite good.
This release starts off with the swinging title track, “I Like It All,” where Akeem confesses his love of all genres of music from SRV to Michael Jackson. After that Akeem channels his inner Donnie Hathaway as he regrets his mistakes of letting his love get away with the slow ’70s soul sounds of “No, No.” The pace picks up with the too short “Tired of Wasting Time.” We’re then treated to an interesting twist at the end of “Sneaking Out” where you can close your eyes and draw parallels with a young version of fellow Arkansas native Larry McCray singing and playing the guitar. Things slow down again with the well written “No Trust,” which is filled with some interesting chord progressions and some solo work that drips with just the right amount of distortion for the song. The album wraps things up with “High School Girlfriend.” This is another good slow blues where Akeem sings about parting ways after graduation.
I Like It All suffers from a shallow depth to soundstage from a technical recording standpoint. It’s lacking a production presence when you listen to it. There is not much separation between the instruments and as a result it sounds sort of flat and one dimensional. However, Akeem has a lot of potential evidenced by his well-written slow blues numbers that makes paying attention to his offerings in the future worth the effort.