East Side Slim
Noir – Blues, Swing, and… – Artist
band Blues Noir is a 3-piece unit working Vermont
and Upstate New York. The members heard playing
on the CD are Peter Corrigan (guitars, vocals, percussion),
Chuck Brome (various basses) and John Nichols (drums
and percussion). A couple tunes are augmented by
guests on either piano or harmonica. While this
is an electric blues band, the guys play in a stripped-down
manner, achieving an effect not unlike that displayed
by Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats from St. Louis –
although the two bands don’t play the same
styles of music (Hudson and band are definitely
their own animal.) Most of the songs on this CD,
Blues, Swing, and… are mid-tempo shuffles,
almost half of the songs being nicely crafted instrumentals.
The drummer’s work is very important to this
CD, always restrained yet still interesting. Some
of the lyrical content can be a bit raw and/or a
little too obvious – there’s something
to be said for innuendo and double-entendre.
1. Stop Me
--This shuffling tune is extremely catchy, and is
one of my favorite cuts on the CD. It’s even
got “more” cowbell, which is used as
a nice percussive effect.
2. Let Me Out the Car
--This is also a catchy tune, with a sort of cha-cha
rhythm and a trilling piano line running throughout
the length of the song.
3. Tiny’s Blues
--This is an instrumental track dedicated to the
influential guitarist Tiny Grimes. It’s a
fun, jazzy blues number, with snippets of familiar
riffs and songs tossed in occasionally for kicks.
4. Woman of Means
--This is a story song, making a play on words on
the word mean. Woman of Means doesn’t end
up meaning that the gal is rich – in fact,
she’s just plain ornery. The tune shuffles
along in a familiar fashion, but the lyric is the
focus of the song.
5. Zuyder Zee Blues
--This could very well be the only blues tune written
containing the name Zuyder Zee in the title –
ever. This instrumental blues has a late-night,
after-hours feel, with some very tasteful chromatic
harmonica work provided courtesy of Chris Hammond
- I’m not familiar with Chris, but I just
might have to find out more about this cat. OK,
THIS is my favorite cut on the CD.
6. Way Past Late
--This mid-tempo track is definitely not child or
radio friendly, due to the lyrics. No profanity,
but let’s just say that single-entendre would
apply. It’s all much too obvious for my tastes.
Double-entendres can be clever and fun at times,
but the band definitely did not go that route here.
7. All I Could Think of Was You
--The melody to this mid-tempo song is catchy and
is pretty interesting. I like the music a lot. However,
the lyrics didn’t work well for me, as the
writer seemed to be trying too hard to be topically
poetic during a couple verses.
8. Playing With House Money
--This is a fun up-tempo instrumental, with lots
of jazzy chicken pickin’ going on. It’s
a really nice track.
9. Barbeque On My Shoes
--This is a mid-tempo shuffler of a bit too familiar
feel, with lyrics about making a mess eating a bbq
dinner. There is a nice Resonator guitar solo –
I wish the guitarist would have focused more on
that instrument on this song, as it would have been
something different than what we’ve already
Fat Bottom Blues
--No, this isn’t a takeoff on an old Queen
tune, nor is it a paean to women of abundant bottom
proportions. The title here refers to the sound
of the tune – it’s an instrumental track
heavy on the bass clef, and it sounds very cool.
This is the something different I’ve been
talking about. Good job, fellas.
--This is another of the familiar shuffle tunes
that the disc is fairly full of. It’s nice
enough, but becoming too familiar. It starts to
sounds like the same melody with different lyrics
slapped on top after awhile.
”Club Owner’s Name Here” Blues
--This song is basically an instrumental version
of the shuffle tunes heard throughout the disc.
There is some fine lead guitar picking here. I liked
this version of the Blues Noir shuffle the best,
minus the lyrics. It allows the band to dig a little
deeper and play a little more loosely.
When Mamma Won’t Dance I Know Someday Who
--This is another version of the mid-tempo shuffle
heard previously. The guitarist’s lead work
here is very nice. He is a tasteful player, displaying
some fun ideas on many of the tunes on the CD.
14. These’ll Fit Her Rhumba
--The set closer, it’s another fine instrumental
cut. There are some fresh ideas here, and the tune
is played with a fat bottom-end and with jangly-twangy
guitar lines played over that big bottom. This is
another very fun track, kind of a blues-surf-dance
number. Top notch.
stated, there are too many songs on this CD. A couple
tracks could have easily been left off the album,
which would have tightened up the entire effort.
The 10 best songs would have led to a tighter, more
interesting effort. A bit of sameness started to
creep in by the end of the CD. With 14 songs on
there, you need to vary the styles and tempos quite
a bit in order to keep things fresh and interesting.
For the most part, the instrumental tracks are my
favorite songs on Blues, Swing, and… All of
the instrumental cuts sound great, they are very
entertaining and many are downright clever. Time
to rate the CD; I’m assigning an STLBluesometer
rating of 3.00 for the CD as a whole - and 4.00
for the instrumental tracks alone.
- aka "East