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HTW's Carlosofcoronado Reviews Jus' Kidding
Posted by: Rowland on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 11:19 AM

by Carlosofcoronado

These strangers aren’t “Jus’ Kiddin'”

The opening strains (guitar and percussion) to their interpretation of Elmore James’ classic “Stranger Blues” takes one on a wonderful journey with the Goodlife Rhythm and Blues Revue as your personal guide. The GLRBR are themselves no strangers to the blues, the road, a hard life—and they certainly are no strangers to many of us herein, both on disc and on stage. I might, add, further that the boys in the band are themselves no strangers to the music of the Allman Brothers Band.

The band, with a combined musical experience exceeding 100 years, is composed of co-founder Ron “Goldtop” Tomasello (guitar, slide, and vocals); co-founder Jeff “Hawkeye” Sanders (guitar and vocals); Raymond Hauck (percussion and backing vocals); Dan Thomas (keyboards); Bill Rogers (drums and backing vocals on the first official band release)/Michael Purpel (drums); and, Mike Hallesy (bass on the first official band release)/Bill Ward (bass). The first release, “Jus’ Kidding”, is a great introduction to those who have yet to catch their scorching stage show, and portends of a great future to come.

The album (with six originals and four covers) opens with “Stranger Blues”—and though many are familiar with the version by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac—the band clearly honors James by staying closer to the original. The vocals provide a more pleading sense, and I quite agree with Ron’s description of the tune sung in a “haunting mood”. Clearly, the innovative use of percussion heightens the tension.

The James track segues very nicely into the original track, “Long Road”, an exposition upon the perils of life. Penned by Tomasello, it reflects the experience that comes from life, turmoil, and wisdom. The third track, “Lonesome Whistle”, is better known to Freddie King fans, but in the band’s good hands, one finds elements of both Chicago Blues, and some classic (at least in my humble opinion) country-western stylings, particularly their “woo-woos” vocals, which harkens back to the Hank Williams era.

One of my very favorite tracks, “Guarantee Recipe”, inspired after Tomasello’s visit to ‘Nawlins’, captures quite clearly the author’s intent: “get the feel and the flavor of the Crescent City”. I can’t help if wonder if the band playfully had Little Feat in mind while composing the track. It has that kind of ring, and should do well on any play list rotation, especially to fans familiar with the funky city’s sound. Among the other covers are Big Joe Turner’s “Corrine Corinna”, and a tune known for its influence upon Duane Allman ( and the opening to the classic “Layla”), Albert King’s “As the Years Go By.” Here I want to clearly recognize something Tomasello points out on the band’s website. The recording and engineering are first class…the most professional work by the late Tommy Schorczy is quite evident throughout, capturing the vocals, percussion, and most impressively, the keyboards. Though the guitarists are themselves superb, one can appreciate Thomas’ tinkling—he clearly provides interesting counterplay.

Sanders’ “Talk About My Baby” is a musical attempt to get one to “kiss and tell”, albeit unsuccessfully, and, Tomasello’s “Your Friend” is one which I found quite inviting. I was reminded immediately of the Charlie Daniels Band’s, “Caballo Diablo”. What a great job Tomasello and Sanders on their guitars.

But the band truly shines on two other originals. First, Tomasello’s earliest penned instrumental “Fullmoon Cruz” is, to say the least, a track that should elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” during a stage show—its potential for jamming escapades and Western Front barrages of interplay is that great. The guitar passages are lyrical, and, at times, may reflect on the band’s own geographic locale. The band swings through Santana-like flights of imagination, brought back to reality by Thomas’ fine keyboard work, something Tomasello clearly recognizes and appreciates. Sander’s closing title “Jus’ Kidding” is a great way to ease off of the journey. I liked what seemed his tongue-in-cheek matter of fact love story. It may just reflect the CD cover, where the boys are depicted standing underneath a street lamp, looking for either a post-concert companion (in keeping with the blues tradition), or, trying to avoid walking home after a gig, not sure of where they maybe in a strange town. Kudos on the great cover, guys. I quite enjoyed listening to their work and trying to imagine what each of you was thinking under the glare of the harsh light.

If you haven’t yet acquired or heard this fine release, I highly recommend you run, not walk, to their website and procure yourself a personal copy. And, I ain’t ‘Jus’ Kiddin'.”


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Past Articles
Saturday, October 08
·Ron Tomasello & Friends (0)
Tuesday, July 12
·GLRBR in the International Blues Challenge (0)
Friday, March 11
·Ron Tomasello & Friends - Wednesday Nov 9th 2011 (0)
Tuesday, September 14
·New Article about Ron Tomasello (0)
Sunday, July 18
·Catman at JJ's Blues Lounge (0)
Sunday, June 27
·Happy 4th of July Weekend (0)
Saturday, June 19
·GLRBR Guitarist as Catman Bluz (0)
Thursday, April 29
·Headin' North to Mendocino Co (0)
Wednesday, April 14
·GLRBR Spring Shows at Henflings (0)
Saturday, February 06
·Mardi Gras comes to Mendocino County (0)
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