A platter of 10 classic soul and R&B rave-ups is served up hot on the debut album from this San Diego band fronted by Bob “Sully” Sullivan. Produced by Grammy Award Winning Producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama, Charlie Musselwhite).
The Sully Band’s debut album, “Let’s Straighten It Out,” conceived in the hallowed halls of Henson Recording Studio in Hollywood, California (formerly A&M Studios) is a journey through the ups, downs and all-arounds of love by way of 10 classic ‘60s and ‘70s soul, blues and R&B tunes.
The band’s namesake, Bob “Sully” Sullivan, knew he had the music bug at the age of six when he picked up a nylon-string guitar and played the first few chords of “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” with his dad. In his 20’s, after pounding the unforgiving Los Angeles pavement trying to cut a record deal, he embarked on a 35-year detour, traveling a storied path from Price Club cashier to self-made entrepreneur and national radio/TV personality, ultimately finding his way back to his first true love: music. Now, after being voted the Best Live Band at the 2020 San Diego Music Awards, Sully and his bluesy, nine-piece beast of a band, are playing regional and national shows to small but mighty crowds, from Southern California’s legendary Belly Up Tavern to Austin’s illustrious Antone’s Nightclub.
This labor of love album was recorded in only five jam-packed days with “mostly-live” versions of carefully curated love-themed songs that made a mark when they were originally released and yet also feel relevant today. Sully’s soulful, heartfelt vocals cut across layers of horns and guitars that take the listener on an emotional arc of joy, disappointment, struggle and redemption.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Goldsmith [Blind Boys of Alabama, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Head Todd] provided the musical curation that makes up “Let’s Straighten It Out.” Treasured tunes like Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing” and Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” share the track list with lesser-known nuggets like “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” by Ray Charles; the title track, first recorded by Latimore in 1974; Shuggie Otis’ “Ice Cold Daydream”; and “I Wish It Would Rain,” first made a hit by The Temptations. Acclaimed San Diego soul singer, Rebecca Jade, shared vocal duties with Sully on Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and Jessie Hill’s “When the Battle Is Over,” while on “If You Love Me Like You Say,” the late Albert Collins is evoked by Anthony Cullins, the 20-year-old guitar sensation from Fallbrook, California.
Anchored by Grammy Award-winner, slayer of the bass, James East [Eric Clapton, Elton John, Michael Jackson and many others], the Sully Band is composed of seasoned, accomplished players who hail from exotic places like Japan, Panama and the island of Lemon Grove. The horn section features sax-flute-harp-man Tripp Sprague [Kenny Loggins, The Little River Band, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Four Tops] and trumpet and flugelhorn player Steve Dillard [The Righteous Brothers & Lynyrd Skynyrd].
Sully himself is an enigma. Ever since his high school days as a barrel-chested, all-American football player, who rocked out to Boston and Foreigner with his buddies, starred in every show-tune-laden musical theatre performance through college, and ended each day with James Brown or Stevie Wonder on his Pioneer receiver, music has been his driving force and inspiration through it all. Now, after years away from the stage, he is back in full force as a compelling musician and live performer ready to “Straighten it Out.”