Monday, September 4, 2017

Chickenbone Slim: “The Big Beat” (2017) CD Review

I figured from the cover of this album that I was in for some fun, maybe with a bit of a classic rock and roll sound (because of the title). And we could all use some fun these days, right? Chickenbone Slim is the stage name of Larry Teves, a blues musician based in San Diego, and The Big Beat is his second album, following Gone. The Big Beat features all original music, written by Teves, and yes, it is some good blues to lift you from the mire and get you on your feet.

The album opens with its title track, a fun blues tune, with touches of rock, a strong rhythm and some great work on harmonica. This song kind of invites the listener to dance, “Once you got the beat, you just can’t get enough/We got the big beat/We got the big beat/The way that you move makes you feel the heat/We got the big beat.” I fucking love that classic 1960s-sounding guitar, and this song develops into a good and totally enjoyable little jam. I wish it went on longer actually. Chickenbone Slim takes us in a more blues rock direction with “Long Way Down,” a song with a catchy rhythm. “You never try and you never fail/You won’t get shocked if you don’t touch that rail.” This song features some excellent work on guitar.

Chickenbone Slim then dips into country with “Hemi Dodge,” a fun driving song which I’ll be adding to my road trip play list. This one has more good work on harmonica, and a playful vocal performance. “Ain’t no tread left on my wheel/But I’m waking up the dead with this souped up Detroit steel.” “Vodka And Vicodin” is more in the folk realm. Maybe I’m crazy, but something about this reminds me of Fats Domino’s “I’m In Love Again,” maybe if you speed it up just a bit. Anyway, I dig this song. “Get myself some chemical motivation, because sometimes reality sucks/I wouldn’t tell you how to live your life/Everyone does what they think is right/I medicate my blues away.” Then we get more heavily into the blues with the delicious “Long Legged Sweet Thing,” which features some nice work by Marty Dodson on drums. There is more great drumming on “Do You Like It?”

“Me And Johnny Lee” features a good, meaty blues jam led by the harmonica, and then later by guitar. That’s followed by “Man Down,” which is blues with a funky edge, and is one of the album’s strongest tracks. The CD then concludes with “Break Me Off A Piece,” another fun track. Yes, the album cover did not steer me wrong. “It’s hard to keep on traveling/Keep on moving all the time/I need a little something/To ease my worried mind.”

CD Track List
  1. The Big Beat
  2. Long Way Down
  3. Hemi Dodge
  4. Vodka And Vicodin
  5. Long Legged Sweet Thing
  6. Do You Like It?
  7. Me And Johnny Lee
  8. Man Down
  9. Break Me Off A Piece 
The Big Beat is scheduled to be released on September 15, 2017.

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