Saturday, March 26, 2011

Great American Taxi: "Reckless Habits" (2010) CD Review

Fronted by Vince Herman, from Leftover Salmon, Great American Taxi plays a great combination of country rock and bluegrass, with some New Orleans flavor thrown in.

The album opens with "One Of These Days," and oh boy, it's a fun song. It has a great New Orleans sound. Think Dr. John at his liveliest.

"Get No Better" is a great, positive song. It's uplifting, and it has a good groove. This song was written by John Hartford. There is some really cool guitar on this song, and the horns are wonderful.

Uncle Tupelo Cover
"New Madrid" is a more mellow song, with a country feel. It was written by Jeff Tweedy, and originally performed and recorded by Uncle Tupelo, and released on their fourth album, Anodyne (1993). This is a really good version, being true to the original, while at the same time giving the song a bit of a new life.

"Unpromised Land"

"Unpromised Land" combines bluegrass and rock, with a sudden Irish folk turn nearly three minutes in. And then it just keeps going. Wonderful, wonderful. This is certainly one of the best songs on the album.

"Reckless Habits" Has References To Other Country Rock

"Reckless Habits," the title track, has references to other country rock songs, albums and bands. References include "Sweethearts Of The Rodeo" (an album by The Byrds), "Wild Horses" (a Rolling Stones song), The Flying Burrito Brothers and "Drugstore Truck Driving Man." It's a good country song itself.

"Cold Lonely Town"

"Cold Lonely Town" has a cool, slow groove. This song gets right inside the listener, and makes a home for itself there. And then there are these incredible female vocals near the end - courtesy of The Black Swan Singers. This is a really good song.

"Tough Job"

"Tough Job" is a country rock song about playing music in a honkeytonk band. It's one of the less interesting songs on the album. The main line is "It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it," which is such a cliche it should be banned from all songs and all conversation.

This song and the next song, "Fuzzy Little Hippy Girl," which is a silly little country rock song, are really the only two weak tracks on the album.

"Big Sandy River"

"Big Sandy River" is fun instrumental, with that quick bluegrass tempo. It was written by Bill Monroe and Kenneth Baker, and it's got a nice fiddle part.

Great American Taxi
Great American Taxi is Vince Herman on vocals, acoustic gutar, electric guitar and bongos; Chad Staehly on vocals, keyboards, piano and Hammond B-3 organ; Jim Lewin on vocals and electric guitar; Edwin Hurwitz on bass; and Chris Sheldon on vocals, drums and percussion.

Guest musicians on this CD include Barry Sless on electric guitar and pedal steel guitar, Tim Carbone on fiddle and vocals, Bonnie Paine on washboard and backing vocals, Noelle Virgil on backing vocals, Brooke Northropp on backing vocals, Justin Jones on saxophone, Nathan Peoples on saxophone, Dan Sears on trumpet and Dave Stamps on trombone. The Black Swan Singers perform on "Cold Lonely Town" and "Get No Better."

Interesting CD Packaging

The CD box has a wheel. When turned so that it says "Reckless Habits" on the front, on the other side a gun will be pointed at a nun's head. Just saying. Enjoy.

CD Track List
The following is the track list for Great American Taxi's Reckless Habits:

  1. One Of These Days
  2. New Millennium Blues
  3. Get No Better
  4. New Madrid
  5. Unpromised Land
  6. Reckless Habits
  7. Cold Lonely Town
  8. American Beauty
  9. Tough Job
  10. Fuzzy Little Hippy Girl
  11. Big Sandy River
  12. Albuquerque
  13. Good Night To Boogie

There is actually a 14th track on this CD, which isn't listed. It's a short (approximately two minutes) New Orleans jazzy type instrumental.

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