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, March 6, 2010

Album Review: The Poorboys

You can hear this music at; www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com

In every community there are bands of musicians that are too young to die and too committed to quit. Whether by passion or talent, over the decades the actors become proficient and move through musical genres to see which one fits best. In time these bands begin to write their own songs, transcend genre and create that blended sound that is uniquely their own. Given time to percolate, these faceless agents can create amazing albums: a monument to life spent in music. Trouble is, shifting through literal mountains of bad CDs, these records rare. Late in 2009 radio host Ally Lee recorded and began to spin a prime example of an exceptional regional release by ‘The Poorboys.’

A traditional five piece band who’s sound revolves around the Segar-like vocals and songwriting of Bob Davidson, the rich accenting keyboards of Nigel Stawart and the momentum setting drums of George Waters. Over the years this is a band that has learned the importance of using space (or not playing). Bass player Paul Mander and guitarist Graeme Kelly have an incredibly tasty presence; often by playing minimally. If taste can be measured, The Poorboys excel in good taste; knowing when to play as well as when to serve the song by not playing. It is a wisdom culled over years of playing.

There are two radio ready tracks on their self titled album. On the upbeat track, “She Moves Like Water,” Davidson sings of a free willed woman that, “moves like water, running around anything that keeps her from flowing her own way.” Using a full blown American accent, Davidson’s central character moves from human to a metaphor for time and aging as “she washes over me” and “rolls to the sea.” The songwriter’s use of water throughout the song ties together, on one level, the love of a woman and on another level a passion for an aging life.

The second radio track is “East of Paradise.” The song rolls out slowly behind a somber piano opening juxtaposed against paced drums. The band’s use of background cellos is a McCartney-like touch that creates depth behind the vocals yet cast a shadow on the intensely sorrowful lyric lines of broken love. At eight minutes, the extended piano break is set against the cellos emotive theme giving the listener a sense of panoramic movement. As a guitar takes over, it propels the song, building an energy that pushes to emotional climax. A delicate sense of songwriter that employs music to express emotions that words simply could not. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

This album of perfect length (nine tracks) is as close to being “great” as one could ever expect from the ocean of undiscovered, self-produced albums. In the end ‘The Poorboys’ are a regional band from Northeast England that will perform to adoring friends and family. The band will strike a memorable history that too few will imbibe but such loss is the making for Shakespearian Tales.


Gary said...

a well written review sir - and every word of it true. I've had the pleasure and privilege of seeing and playing with the Poorboys at least half a dozen times - they never cease to amaze, amuse, entertain and educate, not only at alive gig, but also on this album of originals. Wonderful wonderful stuff - so good it chased the Grateful Dead off my CD player for a week!

Rick Galusha said...

Thanks Gary. This is what guys like you and I do; advocate good music.