The Promise

[Michigan Broadcasting Corporation]

Detroit’s Mitch Ryder lays down old-school grooves with a vengeance on his first American album in nearly 30 years, singing the blue-collar blues over catchy bass and guitar riffs. Ryder lets out the Motor City funk on numbers such as “The Way We Were” and “Junkie Love,” aided by producer and fellow Detroiter Don Was. Ryder addresses the personal and political with equal ease. On “Thank You Mama” he poignantly eulogizes his mother and father, while the album’s title track is a soulful ballad with a soaring chorus that has the soul pioneer making the case for better schools and health care. At 66, Ryder’s voice isn’t quite as powerful as it might have been when he scored with 1960s hits like “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and “Devil With a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly,” but this latest effort proves he still has the goods. –Erik Ofgang

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