Cigars, Billiards & Lunches
Okay — I’ll just get this over with right from the start. I Love This CD! Finally, a 99% original blues recording that doesn’t rely upon blues rock, high volume, and phrases repeating over and over! This album refreshing and real, thought out, group of selections recorded within a blues framework that totally works. I’m talking about the The Sportin’ Lifers new CD. The promo copy I received is called Jumpin’ Rhythm & Blues!
This is Whit Drapers baby and he deserves a ton of credit for such an outstanding piece of work. Out of 14 tunes his name is on the credits for 13 of them! His guitar work is flawless and his lyrics are hip, make sense, and fit each tune or groove — Texas, West Coast, Mickey Baker, Lonnie Mack, Gatemouth guitar throughout!
Vocalist Erin Wallace is also on the credits with Whit for 3 tunes and is an outstanding writer herself. Her ability to interpret Whit’s lyrics is the sign of a gifted singer. I first heard Erin about 6 or 7 years ago at a Journey To Memphis competition at Trails End in Oregon City and she blew me away! She even takes on a Little Esther tune “(I’ve Got A) Longing In My Heart” which is no easy chore. There’s fabulous singing on every tune!
Let’s not forget the rest of the fine band. Steve “Thousand Dollar” Cleveland (should be more than $1,000.) on keyboards does a solid, tasty, creative job on every tune. Loved his piano work and check out the organ intro and solo on “You Sure Look Good In The Dark.”
Veteran Sax Man Brad Ulrich also contributes really cool horn lines and solos. Brad really has an understanding of many styles on his horn (Jazz, Blues, Oldies, Honkers, New Orleans) and his playing really contributes to this CD’s sound. He’s a pleasure to hear!
Another couple vets in this band are bassist Don Campbell and drummer Fred Ingram. Both have been playing here in the Northwest for decades and it shows. Don plays string bass on the whole recording and (with Fred) even leads off intros on 3 tunes. They both get a little solo action on “Flaneur’s Blues” and are responsible for solid playing on every song!
This band sounds like it has a ball every time it gets together — what a great mixture of talent, and they don’t play loudly! You can hear what the musicians are doing and how they fit in.
I would like to tell you about every tune on the recording (I liked all of them) but I’m just going to throw out some of the key phrases from my notes when I listened to it. Lyrics! New Orleans sounds. Hip changes. Great Vocals! West Coast guitar. Ballads! R&B! Jump Blues! Jazzy! Moody. Well thought out! Sweet vocals! Cool Horns! Piano! Organ! Old Rock sound! Sax Solo! Tasty! Sassy! Heartfelt Vocals! Funky! Guitar Damn! Clarinet! Stroll! Blues!
I think you get the picture! Sportin’ Lifers! Check them out Live and get this recording! WOW!
Total Time: 51:29
Bad Idea / (I’ve Got A) Longing In My Heart / Count On Me Baby / Born At Night / Up To You / If You Wanna / Take A Number / I’m Just Lookin’ / I’m Never Blue / Seasick / Don’t Tell The Neighbors / My Baby Broke My Heart / You Look Good In The Dark / Flaneur’s Blues
By Bill Rhoades