TRICK BABYSA Fool And His Money ...
RISING FROM THE ashes of Da Willys and Vacant Lot, Noo Yawk's Trick Baby combines the best aspects of both bands to form salacious and catchy rhythm and blues-influenced trash 'n' roll. Utilizing the street-wise scum punk attitude and booze 'n' blues shenanigans of Da Willys and the way Andre the Giant used to pile-drive Mr. Fuji into the squared circle, rendered bloody and unconscious, head first into the canvas. There's no mistaking the evil and anguished Etta James-meets-Wanda Jackson growl of the intimidating Lynne Von. A spine-tingling vocal concoction that gives Trick Baby its primary focus. Check out the ballsy, bacon-fat wailing on Lavern Baker's "Bumble Bee", lewd, innuendo-filled lyrics mixed with generous dollops of Mitro's stun-punk guitar strumming and Brett Wilder's rockabilly-anchored slop-rock bass hammerin'. Pass the Thunderbird and let's boogie!
STEVE WYNN, WHO drops in to perform at the Club Congress every now and again, crafts solid, defiant, roots-based pop. In this collection, he's not afraid to make a few retro nods--"Shelley's Blues" could have come from Michael Nesmith's catalog, "Silence Is Your Only Friend" takes Stonesy twists, "What We Call Love" pays unstated homage to the Plimsouls, and "Why" turns a Carpenters trope on its end and shakes it down. Even with his influences worn on his sleeve, though, Wynn's sound is all his own. Wynn's lyrics center on lost love, and his world view tends to bleakness, but his slide-driven melodies make you want to dance through the tears.
ANY MUSICIAN WITH standards would wince at having a hit song courtesy the second-dumbest show (Party Of Five) on television, but a royalty check's a royalty check, eh? You can renegotiate that contract from which you were about to be dumped, and hire E Street Band alum Danny Federichi for squeezebox chores, too. The problem with these heartland weenies boils down to the eternal distinction: all style, no substance. Hummable and harmless, but insincerely pitched as art. And "blend" is right--the Bo Deans graft John Fogerty onto "Peter Gunne" ("Count On Me"), melt Springsteen butter over Journey cheese ("All I Ever Wanted"), and of course pull their tried-and-tested Everly Bros. shtick again ("Can't Stop Thinking"). My standards are generally low. But when the Kurt 'n' Sammy Show rips off Tom Petty (music) and Dave Alvin (words) and gives their stolen vehicle a new paint job by calling it "Heart Of A Miracle" (classic/buoyant chord progression fueling such "passionate" lines as: "Holding hands with her newborn baby...Welcome to the heart of a miracle"), well, my bullshit detector goes into overdrive.
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