Boogie Kings, Legacy (MTE Records)

Legacy is the long-lost Boogie Kings record that was nearly completed in 2009. But when bandleader Ned Theall unexpectedly passed away in January 2010, its future became questionable. Last year it finally got the push it needed; the remaining session work was completed and a dark, mysterious chapter began to see the light of day.

Despite having no originals on these 11 tracks, the song selection is strong. The swooning interpretation of Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” is its best-known cover; “Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me,” a chart-topping 1971 hit for Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, closely follows the mid-tempo Sam & Dave version. The rest are lesser known, ranging from the magical “I Won’t Cry” to uncovered treasures (“You Left the Water Running”) to more contemporary blue-eyed funk (“Blind, Crippled & Crazy,” “Boogie Ain’t Nuttin’”).

While the horns stroll, strut and even sneak around in places, this is really a singer’s affair. Parker James and Gregg Martinez are nothing less than exceptional. They harmonize well together, trade licks and alternate lead vocals. James has a G.G. Shinn–influenced soul swagger about his crooning; Martinez exudes innate power. When Martinez grabs a hold of a slow one like “At This Moment,” forget it, it’s over, just surrender because you’re already a hostage. It’s an extraordinary performance that’s knocked into orbit with Martinez’s hurricane emotion. For a record that wasn’t supposed to be, it’s a fine coda to a long-lasting legacy.