As soon as I tore off the cellophane wrapper and opened this CD it started leaving good impressions on me. This is going to be the first time I ever did a review and am mentioning the jacket, but it did impress me enough to do so. Kudos to Jennifer May at Point to Point Communications for the very nice CD design.
This is the fourth CD from BLUE LUNCH a band from Cleveland, Ohio that has been together since 1984. That's a long time for a local band to keep it fun, keep it right and keep it good, especially with eight members involved. The band consists of BOB FRANK, the musical director on guitar and vocals; PETER LONDON, on harmonica and vocals; NORMAN TISCHLER, on saxophone and harmony vocals; BOB MICHAEL, trombone and harmony vocals; MIKE RUBIN, on trumpet; RAYMOND DEFOREST, on upright bass and harmony vocals; MIKE SANDS, on keyboards; and MIKE JANOWITZ, on drums. For this session support was provided by DICK INGERSOLL, on baritone saxophone; SAMMY DE LEONE, on congas and percussion; and MARK FREEMAN, on harmony vocals and hand claps. Sounds like a lot of music right? It is! Seventeen tracks worth, and it's all hot. Calling this CD "BIG SOUND BLUES" was right on target.
All the tracks on "BIG SOUND BLUES", five originals and twelve covers, were very well done. This is one of those CD's that you pop in and just completely enjoy, from start to finish. I will however mention a few that deserve some extra merit.
"IC BOOGIE", the opening track and one of the originals gets you going right off the bat. It's the cut that starts you shaking and that's pretty much how you stay throughout the CD. There's a real nice harmonica / saxophone duel with the piano getting it's licks in too.
"YOU'VE GOT TO DANCE THE CHA CHA WITH ME", another original, has to be a favorite of live audiences at BLUE LUNCH shows. This cut makes you wanna dance - the cha cha of course. It sounded like the RICKY RICARDO ORCHESTRA, playing the blues.
"CLEVELAND, OHIO BLUES", yet another original, has a real nice ROOMFUL OF BLUES sound to it. It's real smooth and soulfully sung ALA SUGAR RAY. Several times during this one I found myself drifting away from the review and rocking to the sounds. The horn section shines on this song about someone not wanting to leave Cleveland, Ohio.
"CHICKEN BLUES" is a real funky and funny song. In it you are advised that "If you don't like chicken you should leave the hen alone". It is sung by the upright bass player, RAYMOND DEFOREST, and his vocals sound just like his instrument.
A fourth original "NEW PLACE TO HANG MY HAT" is another Sugar Ray / Roomful styled song. It's quite clear that they were a big influences on this band. I'm sure also that lead vocalist BOB FRANK may have listened to a few DARREL NULISCH recording over the years.
I absolutely loved this CD and although it is only June, it may very well be a contender for the BLEWZZY.
Wow, another CD from another foreign country. We can now add Brooklyn to the list of countries that include Canada, Sweden, Italy, Great Britain and Brazil, where we here at http://www.mary4music.com/ have received CD's to review. Wuddya meen Brooklyn ain't no kuntree? Day have dere own langwidge don't day? (....sic). Well, if you took a few hundred mid westerners and put them in Brooklyn there is no doubt in my mind they would think they were in a foreign country and that's good enough for me.
All kidding aside, it is a pleasure for me to review a CD from a band from my home town, good old Brooklyn, New York. I'm willing to bet I grew up stealing hub caps with some of these musicians fathers.......OK, OK, enough with the Brooklyn humor and on with the review
"RICK FINK AND HIS GAS HOUSE GORILLAS", the title of the CD as well as the name of the band, has fun written all over it. This was a fun CD to listen to, it sounds like the band had fun recording it and I am sure this is a fun act to catch live. The CD contains nine originals out of twelve tracks, and the lyrics on those originals are also fun.
The GORILLAS consist of RICK FINK on vocals and acoustic guitar, JIMMY PRAV on guitar and lap steel, "HANDSOME" DAN ALVARO on sax, CHRIS "CRUSHER" CARMEAN on bass and JOE GEARY on drums. Collectively they have appeared with B. B. KING, GARY U. S. BONDS, CHUBBY CHECKER, BABY FACE, LOS LOBOS, JOE SAMPLE, JERRY LEE LEWIS and on who knows how many wanted posters......ooooops, there goes that Brooklyn thing again.
The CD opens with "QUIET WHISKEY", and on this cut the band clearly states their style. It is a great swing song with lots of whaling saxophone. The mood continues right into track two, another cover called "POWERHOUSE", a jumpy tune with lots more whaling sax.
On "FIND A LITTLE BOOGIE", the first original cut on the CD, the band did just that..... they found a little boogie and ran with it. This tune rocked.
The tone mellows with "WHEN I COME HOME", a nice soft ballad with very tender lyrics and a hell of a soft, sexy saxophone and continues in the same direction with a nice little shuffle called "LAST CHANCE MOTOR RIDE", which features that ever present saxophonist DAN ALVARO.
"MISERY" (all 365 days of it) and "COOKIN AT HOME" are two very retro rock and roll sounding numbers with very interesting and humorous lyrics. "HOME AGAIN", which closes the CD is unlike any other track on the CD. It is a twangy, country ballad that features some real good harmony and was quite enjoyable listening.
I enjoyed this CD so much that I leave you with this recommendation. If you're ever in the Brooklyn area, try to catch this band. And, keep your eyes on your hubcaps.....just kidding.
Yo Gorillas........give my regards to President Street in South Brooklyn.You can visit Rick Fink & His Gas House Gorillas on the web at: www.gashousegorillas.org/
As I listened to "THE BEST OF JAMES VAN BUREN'S BLUES", by JAMES VAN BUREN I was about halfway through the first cut when I thought to myself "this is real deal blues here, this man is experienced." So I immediately started reading the linear notes and the literature that was enclosed with the CD, and sure enough my instinct was correct. JAMES VAN BUREN is indeed a seasoned veteran. As it turns out, this is his ninth CD and he has shared the stage with EDDIE "CLEANHEAD" VINSON, T-BONE WALKER, BIG JOE TURNER & LOU RAWLS. You've got to be good to keep company like that.
This CD, being a best of, contains songs that were recorded over many years. That translates into lots of musicians - lots of real good musicians. Joining JAMES VAN BUREN, who wrote all the songs and sang all of the vocals were: SAMMY MAYFIELD, HORACE BUTLER, CALVIN KEYS and TONY EDWARDS on guitars; BILLY RICH, DWIGHT KILIAN, M. SIMON and N. WRIGHT on bass; JOE KEEL, DOUG ROCHE and E. GUNNISON on keyboards; PAUL ROMAINE, BRUNO CARR, S. HOLLOWAY and S. RIVERA on drums; BILLY TOLLES, H. BROWN, K. OXMAN, L. DRAYTON and F. WESLEY on horns; K. DAVIES, W. HARSTON and S. SHINTA on background vocals.
In addition to some of the great guitar solos, the great piano solos, the excellent horn work, the magnificent rhythm and the smoothly delivered vocals on this CD, I couldn't help being blown away by the lyrics. This CD contains some of the very best written blues songs I have ever heard.
On the opening track, "THREE HANDED WOMAN", JAMES sings about a women who is 'right handed', 'left handed' and 'underhanded' and JOE KEEL plays some real nice piano. On the next cut, he explains that his doctor told him that he has "A VIRUS CALLED THE BLUES" and that can't be treated with narcotics and antibiotics. HORACE BUTLER plays some serious blues guitar on this track.
There is another track completely written about a club in Denver, where JAMES is a regular performer. The club is called the Elchapultapec Lounge and the song is titled "THE ELCHAPULTAPEC SHUFFLE". He even mentions the owners name and tells the listener to "mention that JAMES VAN BUREN sent you".
On "IT WAS A DREAM" JAMES dreams of hitting the horses and hitting the numbers but then wakes up and can't find any money. He dreamed that he got married and had ten children but woke to find that none of the children looked like his. On this cut the super guitar work is performed by CALVIN KEYS. And, On "MEAN HUSBAND BLUES" James complains that his woman's husband is a mean, mean man who does not cooperate.
"WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE BLUES", is a song in which JAMES claims to have met the blues in person. It happened when his woman moved out and the blues moved in claiming to take care of him.
Song after song on this CD I kept finding the lyrics to be more and more interesting, entertaining, humorous, and yet, all quite true. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of listening to "THE BEST OF JAMES VAN BURENS BLUES"