The latest CD offering from McKeesport's funky little Bonedog Records label is classic soul and R&B, sung by one the soulmen who's a classic himself -- Pittsburgh's Gus Collins. The album itself is pretty much an all-Burgh production, with 10 songs from the prolific Mike Sweeney, and a band that includes work by Dave Avery, Zack Weisinger, Jimmy Britton, Robbie Klein, Steve Delach, Robert Peckman and Sweeney himself. And more. Then there's Collins. This is his first solo album, even though he's been performing since he began singing on the streets of the North Side in the 1950s. By the time he was 11, he was singing with his first group, Sammy and the Belltones. He moved on to sing lead for the Lateers, an R&B group, which charted in '62 and '63 with 'Dance Party' and 'Sweet Cadillac.' He kind of retired from '78 to '95, then returned to sing with the Marcels, and currently, Elmoz Fire. What you get in 2010 is a powerful vintage soulful singer who knows what to do with his voice, whether it's sweet soul ('The Rain Can't Reach') or gritty R&B ('Don't Lie About Me' - and I won't tell the truth about you). 'A Thousand Thunders' is an especially punchy track with some fine call-and-response gospel overtones -- Stevee Wellons' backup vocals soar right along with Collins -- nothing better than music that's churchy and danceable. Here's a sample of that track: Collins vocals just basically pump high-octane soul into all these tracks. The title track is pure funky soul, poured on thick with a shouted falsetto opening, slipping smoothly into a tough groove for the rest of the track. 'Seven Day Lover' is another soul-scorcher with horn fills that make me remeber sax players who used to lie on their backs on the stage, legs kicking wildly, sax roaring. Now those were the days! There's even a torchy, broken-hearted tale of love gone wrong on 'Outside of Ohio.' It's hard to say enough good things about Collins' classic, painfully expressive singing, but the band hits it's own share of high notes with horns that whisper and shout in the best soul tradition, tough piano and organ from Britton, and great all-around support that sounds like it was born in 1955. I think that Jeff Ingersoll, the guy who runs Bonedog and the Boneyard, deserves special mention here. He's been working hard for about 15 years now, recapturing and re-creating this great old American music -- rock, soul, R&B and blues -- and doing it deep in the heart of the Pittsburgh area, where some of that music took root before anyone else in the country knew what was happening. This is American classical music. Catch it live while you can. Jim White - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.