Reviews roundup – The Smoke Wagon Blues Band vs. Randy McAllister vs. Uncle Lucius vs. Gary Quinn
THE SMOKE WAGON BLUES BAND
To the Canadian colonies for some brand new blues courtesy of the Smoke Wagon Blues Band. They’ve been at it for twenty plus years now so certainly their craft. Something highlighted by this record of new material.
They’re a highly rated live band and you can tell why as their music has a crowd pleasing quality, the kind of thing that will get people up on their feet like dancing machines. From the funky opening “Walking Cane” into the blues rock of “Must’ve Read It Wrong” or the old school r’n’b revue stylings of “I Tried” they don’t put a foot wrong.
The vocals of Corey Lueck are a constant treat and there are some fine arrangements as well with the organ and sax adding a richness to the sound. Highlights are a-plenty and you can’t go far wrong with the boogie of “”Directly Under Her Thumb” or the New Orleans fonk of the title track. A highly recommended blues release.
RANDY McALLISTER & the Scrappiest Band In The Motherland
Fistful of Gumption
We’re sticking with the blues and Texan Randy McAllister and his delightfully named band are back for another crack.
As before Mr McAllister is a right show off taking care of drums, washboard (yes, really), harp, vocals and the songwriting. He has a rocking shuffle feel to his music and again there are some great arrangements. The addition of female backing vocals and prominent fiddle definitely adds to the material they appear on.
It’s an original set bar one Earl King Johnson cover and with a fantastic rhythm sound songs like “Roll With The Flow”, “In My Stride” and “Ride To Get Right” (his tribute to Otis Redding and Earl King) really spring to life. Mr McAllister has a fine voice and some great songs. Add in a red hot band and there is plenty here to appeal to fans of the blues. A good one.
Don’t Own The Right
I quite liked ‘The Light’, the fourth album of rootsy Americana from Austin, Texas band Uncle Lucius, and now they’ve put out “Don’t Own The Right” as a single to promote it.
It’s a wise choice as it’s one of the best songs on the album with some fine barroom piano. It’s also one of their more country like songs, which is where their strenghts lie. It comes with some fine harmony vocals and is a good introduction to their sound for those looking for some new roots music.
Some British country music now and it’s from the British Country Music Association Male Vocalist Of The Year. Now my aauld Irish mammy was the secretary of the Scottish Country Music Fellowship back in the day so I’ve been around country music since I was a wean. And this is good.
It’s also quite modern and mainstream, so it’s aimed more at fans of modern country than anything else. Now that used to be the kind of thing that alienated British country fans who seemed to like everything in rhinestone but times have moved on and this EP should do him no harm at all.
He’s a fine singer and the songs are good. He also manages to keep one foot in “proper” country with the arrangements and production, especially on the EP highlights “First Glance” and “The Best Man Won”. It’s a record that will keep his fans happy and here’s hoping it opens a few eyes elsewhere in the world.