Chances are Billy Price will go on singing rhythm and blues as long as his voice holds out. And what a marvelous R&B voice it is--confident, passionate, totally convincing.
At the Bayou last night, Price and his excellent six-piece Keystone Rhythm Band tapped the cathartic power of R&B in a fast-paced performance that seldom let up. Looking a bit like Graham Parker in shades, Price began with a burning rendition of "Hold Back the Night" before lowering the flame just a little. His Memphis soul tunes, especially an irresistible version of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," were always on target and frequently moving. At every turn, Price's words were reinforced by the Keystone Rhythm Band's invigorating beat, saxophones and solos.
Traditionally, R&B shows are laced with emotion and showmanship, and Price proved equal to that task as well. Both "Part Time Love" and "She's Tough" showed how easily he can raise a crowd's expectations before making the payoff.
If Price ever finds a songwriter compatible with his talent and interests, the national recognition that has eluded him thus far may finally be his to enjoy.
Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band return tonight.