Let’s see… put this sucker in the player… Whoah! Whoah! Turn the volume down! Dang, this CD is loud! With Kenwood Dennard on Drums and Rael Wesley Grant on 6 String Bass, Daryll Dobson has employed a killer rhythm section to assist him on this big sounding CD. Together with the production and his Midi Guitar, it gives this sonic blast called Reality Check an immense wall of sound throughout the recording.
“Nanigo” opens the disc fervently with fusion fury. Daryll confidently establishes his guitar creds from the outset. Next up, Daryll introduces his Jimi Hendrix inspired vocals and slows down the vibe on “We Can Live Together.” This song has a hook that burns its way into your psyche like many of the better Hendrix tunes. Daryll even plays and sings Jimi’s “Voodoo Child” later in the disc to solidify the connection.
Daryll’s compositional skills and playing sometimes rival Zappa technically with finding the obscure notes, like on the title song “Reality Check.” After that, “The Forgotten Country” introduces Violinist Steve Lakatos to the fray and Daryll trades solos with the prominent role introduced for Steve here. The song “Makanda” brings on yet another friend with Delmar Brown to play organ. Delmar’s bubbly style compliments the song attractively.
“Where’s Rael?” is the next question and I can attest that Bassist Rael Wesley Grant is all over this song with his intensely tight playing. The CD definitely starts to find its jazz fusion direction once more with this and the last song. Enough cannot be said how confidently Rael and Kenwood Dennard support Daryll Dobson on the Reality Check disc.
There is second disc included here. A DVD of Daryll playing a few songs from the Reality Check CD with a background of computerized effects and old footage of explosions and stuff. It’s interesting to watch Daryll play, but I found none of the other players on the DVD and the music on the CD is noteworthy enough without the visual.
I’d like to see if Daryll Dobson can find his voice away from the apparent Hendrix comparisons and hear him sing more songs. His vocals are featured on only two songs here and one of those is a cover of his most obvious inspiration. He is very talented, technically capable and composes interesting music, but I would like to hear more melodies that can be established with the voice. Maybe I’m just looking for “Winds of Change,” as the song by this name march beats out to close the album while Daryll Dobson plays his Doubleneck 12-6 Midi guitar synthesizer cleanly and assuredly.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on June 12th, 2007