Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Album Review: Charlie Feravola, Charlie Jones

Artist: Charlie Feravola
Title: Charlie Jones
Writer: Rick Galusha

They say that if you listen long enough to an album you’ll begin to like it. That may be true but I have yet to comprehend the artistry of Don Cherry. That said, I must have listened to the Charlie Jones record a dozen times before it made any sense to me. It’s not that it’s not a good album, a really good album; it’s just schizophrenic. Half of the tracks haven’t a shred of blues in them. And when you’re expecting a “blues” album – well it’s confusing to say the least.

The 12th track, Half My Age, is a blues track begins with Pete Townshend’s guitar riff from, ‘Shaking All Over’ off their Live at Leeds album and then goes straight into a heavy blues jam that resolves into your standard table rocking blues song. The thirteenth track, ‘Ass Blackout / She’s Too Hip’ is a Texas shuffle feel and blistering guitar solo. On the song, ‘Too High to Cry’ Charlie Jones takes an enjoyable go at a B. B. King guitar and organ simmering blues number.

I would venture that 98% of the Contemporary blues audience come to the genre by way of the Rolling Stones or the Allman Brothers and the other two percent are chronic liars. That said, assuming you are still with me, Charlie Jones’ album is a golf ball off-the-fairway and lying in the rough. With every listen spin my enjoyment grows. Jones is using a very diverse basis of references to come up with something rare – a good rock record. For example the closing track on the album, ‘Jessica Emmers’ begins with a descending Nick Lowe like bass line and then moves into a Cheap Trick meets The Dancing Hoods pop sensibility. The lyrical 12 string guitar solo ala George Harrison, driving drums, crisp and clean sound are very Beatlesque. The second track, ‘Don’t Know How to Get to You’ has a strong ‘80’s ‘Beserkley Records / British wave ala a poppier Flamin’ Groovies or Rubinoos.

The band covers Norman Greenbaum’s, ‘Spirit in the Sky’ (recently covered by the Blind Boys of Alabama on their album, ‘Atom Bomb.’) With that catchy melody line in tact the band slows the song down until it hurts and then throws in a mean, nasty, psychedelic Hendrix like guitar solo. By the time the trumpet solo comes in at the end of the song the beat is at a heavy Z. Z. Hill’s ‘Downhome Blues’ pace that drives the song into your brain. God it hurts so good!

On the song ‘Charlie Jones is Dead’ the band sound very Mind Games era John Lennon as he sings some of the coolest lyrics I’ve heard in decades, “You know the one about Jesus Christ, He didn’t mind dying if the cause was right. He stepped right out of his shallow grave and he left behind a shroud with his laughing face. That’s good for him. But it ain’t no good for me. Cause if you kill me honey, dead is all I’ll ever be. Elvis was the King of Rock n’ Roll before he blew his top down in Tupelo. He died in the bathroom from prescription dope. But I saw him pumping gas down in Roanoke. That’s good for him. But it ain’t no good for me, Cause if you kill me honey, Dead is all I’ll ever be.” The song then breaks into a series of rapid fire single note fuzzed-up guitar solo that aches and soars amid a heavy curtain of rhythm and sound.

‘Sigh’ is Pink Floyd meets “Strawberry Fields Forever’ in a slow and languid pop setting replete with a heavy psychoactive ‘60’s drug-sound. Fresh and so totally out of place that two brief chaotic piano breaks that resolve into an acoustic strumming guitar and bongo closing are perfect textures to the highly considered structure.

The track ‘Sunday’ is a phenomenal track that sounds to me to be a bit ‘Sgt. Pepper era Paul McCartney, a dash of Robert Fripp’s abutting chordal dissonance with some Andy Sommers (The Police) thrown in. See? Schizophrenic and magnificent all at the same time.

This album is a highly niched exceptionally good rock-with-blues album. Because it defies a comfortable genre definition it’s not for everyone. It is well worth the time invested if you ears and your mind are WIDE open. No question this is one of the most interesting Contemporary rock albums I have ever heard!

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