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: Rhythm & Groove Club feat: Allen Toussaint and Jeff Cook

Title: Rhythm & Groove Club
Artists: Jeff Cook & Allen Toussaint
Writer: Rick Galusha

As a kid from the Midwest Iowa’s Tommy Bolin eventually played in some of the ‘70’s biggest bands including; The James Gang, Deep Purple and Moxy as well as working with artists like; Billy Cobham (Spectrum album), Phil Collins, and Jeff Beck. Sioux City guitarist Tommy Bolin’s career ended with his drug overdose death in Miami on December 4, 1976. He was twenty-five years old. In some ways Jeff Cook’s recent release, ‘Rhythm & Groove Club’ lives in the shadow of Bolin’s short career. Jeff Cook, who organized and headed up the recording of, ‘The Rhythm & Groove Club,’ along with New Orleans’ uber-musician Allen Toussaint, played in bands with Bolin (Energy) along with writing or co-authoring many of his best songs including; Dreamer, Savannah Woman, Teaser (Teaser album) and Sweet Burgundy, Shake the Devil, Gypsy Soul and Hello Again (Private Eyes album). These days Jeff Cook is now an executive with the Americana label New West.

In a world of marathon 16 track CDs, Cook’s album is a pleasantly brief at only nine songs. Three of the tracks are penned by Toussaint while the others are a mish-mash of known covers including the Lieber/Stroller, ‘Down Home Girl’ (also covered on the 1965 release, The Rolling Stones Now!), Booker T Jones & William Bell’s, ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ and Roscoe Gordon’s, ‘Just a Little Bit.’ Over all this is a nice album with no surprise’s and unfortunately nothing remarkable. It’s a groovy little independent record put together by two significant footnotes in music history; both admirable and both successful within the circle of serious music fans. The music is exemplary of the very finest of tasty musicianship and Cook’s vocals are deep and lyrical. There is nothing wrong with this album but there’s nothing demanding your attention. While a fan of Cook’s songwriting skills, I have to describe this as a vanity project that will haunt the collections of some but remain anonymous to most. If you’re a complete music geek and you happen to be looking for that perfect album to play for your less-informed friends, maybe at a party or BBQ, you know, that album that is the perfect balance between songs they’ve heard before but are still fresh enough to be interesting, this could be an excellent fit. While writing this review I’ve been compelled to pull out the James Gangs’ ‘Bang’ album where Cook co-writes many of the songs with Bolin; who had stepped in for the recently departed Joel Walsh. While the nonsensical drug death of Bolin will never make sense, one can only hope that very talented Cook will find a ‘Lennon’ to his ‘McCartney’ and begin writing seriously, once again.

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