Rockin’ sounds and 60s reissues from Sundazed Records
Jonell Mosser, Enough Rope, Siren Song Records.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Jonell Mosser is
perhaps the best female singer working the rock, blues & soul genre today.
This talented, emotional, soulful woman with the huge voice, makes her living
as a background singer in Nashville, and steps upfront only for the occasional
club, concert or festival gig. Her voice cuts straight to the heart on her
second compact disc, which was released nearly two years ago. Of course,
if Siren Songs Records would put me on their mailing list, I could have told
you about this great recording a long time ago.
Jonell rocks harder this time out and her backup musicians
respond with a sound that echoes the greasy, laidback, fatback funk of Little
Feat. Slide guitar dominates the instrumental mix, as Jonell wraps her pipes
around lyrics to tunes like “Love Like Rain,” “Your Love is Working in My
Life,” “When I Write the Book,” “Strangest Dream” and “Resurrection Day.”
There’s not a bogus track in the bunch.
This is Jonell Mosser’s finest work to date. Five stars. www.sirensongs.com.
Mambo Sons, Play Some
Rock & Roll! Casa Del Soul Productions.
Guitarist/journalist Tom Guerra is an unabashed fan of power
chords, hot solos, Keith Richards-inspired rhythms and lyrics that don’t
require a Ph.D. to decipher. In other words, this is straightforward, simple,
guitar-driven rock & roll that might remind you of The Rolling Stones,
Mott The Hoople, Free, Bad Company, Cheap Trick and others. The material
is good to excellent and Tom’s band mates, singer Scott Lawson, bassist Jeff
Keithline and drummer Mike Hayden are all in-the-pocket players. The Mambo
Sons’ Play Some Rock & Roll! doesn’t cater
to trends and makes no pretense at being anything more than a fun, party
rock record. In that vein, it succeeds handsomely. I wish more bands cared
less about fashion and image and more about the music. www.mambosons.com.
Patty Hurst Shifter, Beestinger Lullabyes, self-release.
There’s a great music scene in North Carolina and it keeps
getting better and better with new bands coming along all the time. Among
the best is Patty Hurst Shifter, a four piece, guitar-heavy band whose music
is loaded with righteous riffs, southern twang and tunes about love gone
wrong, mixed with raw, hard-hitting, high-energy rock a la The Black Crowes
and The Rolling Stones. Lead singer Chris Smith and guitarist Marc Smith
(no relation) make a fine frontline team, and bassist Johny Williams and
drummer Skillet Gilmore, formerly of Whiskeytown, round the band out. PHS’s
high-octane level rarely goes below “9” throughout and that’s fine with me.
This is a very promising first release from these talented North Carolinians;
there are memorable songs, hot licks and energy to wake the dead. www.pattyhurstshifter.com.
New Releases From Sundazed
Records: Sundazed Records, the country’s leading 60s rock reissue
label has more goodies on the market. The Cryan’ Shames from Illinois
scored a fair-sized hit in 1966 with the fluffy “Sugar & Spice” and
tried valiantly to follow it up with singles that veered dangerously
close to commercial psychedelia. The Shames never had another hit as
big as their first, but in retrospect, all three of their albums, Sugar & Spice, A
Scratch In The Sky and Synthesis all
contain worthwhile cuts. The Driving Stupid hailed from New Jersey and
recorded a handful of tunes like “Horror Asparagus Stories” (also the
name of this CD) and “The Reality Of (Air) Fried Borsk” that have baffled
and amazed 60s rock collectors and fans alike. Barely able to play, the
band made their way out to New Mexico and finally California where by
little more than sheer bravado, they managed to land a record deal. When
The Driving Stupid’s first couple of singles bombed, their album was
shelved—until now, and it’s a demented 60s classic. The New Colony Six
had their share of later regional hits that leaned toward commercial
ballads, but their earliest material was right out of the 60s punk garage.
This is the long-awaited reissue of Breakthrough,
the group’s first album, and it holds up pretty well. Don & The Good
Times epitomized the wild, raucous northwest rock ‘n roll sound and The Original Northwest Sound Of Don & The
Goodtimes is the best retrospective reissue of this fondly remembered
band’s recorded work. www.sundazed.com.