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2:49 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

'Big Daddy D' unveils new album Friday night

PRESCOTT - Big Daddy D and the Dynamites' new album, "Down Boy!," is about to explode on the public.

"Every band always says their new album is the best, but this really is our best one," said Drew Hall, vocalist, guitarist and one of the founding members of the band. "The tunes are stronger and the production is the best."

This is the band's fourth album, but the band last recorded six years ago.

"It's good, soulful music," said Darryl Porras, vocalist and guitarist, who formed the band along with Hall in 1998. "It's all better, and the production is much better."

In addition to Hall and Porras, the other band members include Carlos Jones on drums, Steven Ayres on vocals and bass, and Gary Regina on single and dual saxophones.

The band started working on the album at the end of this past March, and recorded it at fellow musician Matt Jackson's Stone Temple Studios. "It was about a one-and-a-half month process," Hall said.

The band recorded the songs "live" as opposed to "tracking."

"With tracking, you've got one person going into a booth to record while everyone sits around outside, then you switch," Hall explained. "You lose the spontaneity."

At Jackson's studio, each musician stood behind a kiosk to avoid feedback from each other's instruments during recordings. Each instrument had its own microphone so that Jackson could record them on separate tracks.

"We played live, like we were at a show," Hall said. "We could see each other's faces over the kiosk, so we could communicate the same way we do during shows. We had a lot of improvisation going on."

Although the vocalists in the band sang during the recording, Jackson did not record their voices.

"We overdubbed the vocals later," Hall explained. "By doing it that way, it gives the engineer (Jackson) more control over the volume and tone of the vocals."

Drummer Jones was entirely enclosed and separated from the other players.

"Carlos was very isolated because of the drums," Hall said. "When we'd take a break he'd have to bang on the door and say, 'Let me out.'"

The 13 songs on "Down, Boy!" are all originals. Hall and Porras wrote 11, and Ayers and Regina each wrote one. They recorded the songs in one "long day," and spent another four hours recording the vocals.

The group selected the songs by democratic vote, with the songwriters getting first choice over selection. They chose songs that they like.

"Once we were finished, we all sat down and listened," Hall said. "When we were happy with it, we'd say, 'That's it.'"

After Jackson finished the final mix, he sent the master to a CD production company called Oasis.

Hall credits Ayers with the "force behind getting us in the recording studio." Ayers also designed the album cover, along with photographer Dale O'Dell, which includes the band's trademark three-foot rubber alligator.

Hall said the recording "was really smooth and a lot of fun."

Although clubs generally bill the group as a blues band, their play list includes a variety of music, including cover songs.

"We're not a traditional blues band, we're a high energy blues band," Porras said.

"I would describe our style as a gumbo of blues, funk, soul and swing," Hall said. "But no jazz."

Big Daddy D and the Dynamites invites the public to its album debut party from 8-11 p.m. Friday night at Raven Café, 142 N. Cortez St., in Prescott. For a sneak preview of some songs, or to learn more about the band, visit www.bigdaddydblues.com.