Crazy Joe – The Doctor Is In
Life is short, that’s a fact. So I won’t waste your time. Crazy Joe’s latest album (the first one in five years) is an absolute must. And he deserves all the credit for this success. He wrote it, played all the instruments (but piano and organ), sang lead and background vocals, produced it and engineered the whole thing.
Show Me Around is a superb opener with sharp guitar and warm bass (electric that is!). The slower tempos like the Greatest Scam and I Don’t Believe evoke a mix of the early 60’s recordings of Gene Vincent with Sam Cooke. Wasted remains in the 60’s territory too but adds a good dose of rhythm’n’blues and funk that suit Joe very well. Next is Right There In My Lap, an electric blues that features a superb solo by Ricky Nye on Hammond organ. After the doo wop “Please Don’t Call me” which makes you think, in case you hadn’t already, that he’s a terrific singer too, comes H-Bomb a garage/ Kinks type of rocker. She’s My Baby also shows some British influences but on this one, they’re to be found near the River Mersey. Snakebite is an instrumental tour de force that could be best described by “Les Paul took too much acids”. The poison of the snake gave him too much hallucinations or is it the beverage of the same name? The album ends on a high note like it begun with a great rocker backed by a Johnny Johnson piano.
Did I tell you that this album was perfect?
Also available on vinyl.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Crazy Joe and the Mad River Outlaws – The King Of Nerd-a-billy
ATOM Records – ATOM1407
Wise To The Ways Of A Woman – Smack Dab In The Middle – Cryin’ My Eyes Out Over You – Remington Rock – I Knew You’d Be The One – Nothing Can Change This Love – I Like My Chicken Fryin’ Size – Pants On Fire 2007 – You Never Cared For Me – Flight Of The Beverly Bumblebillies – My Guitar – Kansas City Baby
The most amazing thing with Crazy Joe’s latest release (still on Atom Records), besides his talent, is his maturity. This is only is third release (2 full length and one mini album) and you’d swear to listen to a guy who has 10 albums under his belt. An accomplished singer, he’s able to confront himself with Sam Cooke (Nothing Can Change This Love) with ease, and add to this talent his capacity to write his own song and the result is “You Never Cared For Me”, an amazing-astounding-beautiful (and more) ballad with a strong sixties flavour. Rich in style this album goes through a rollicking rendition of Johnny Horton’s “Wise To The Way Of A Woman” to a wild Surf tune (with theremin) via a rock’n’roll version of a jump blues classic (Smack Dab In The Middle) and a weeping Honky Tonk, Joe’s own “Cryin’ My Eyes Out Over You” with guest pedal steel player Dave Biller. “Kansas City Baby” rocks harder, this time with Deke Dickerson on guitar.
And although he’s probably one of the best guitar player on the current rockin’ scene, he has this rare intelligence (the maturity I was talking about before) not to “overplay”. He always focuses on the song and the melody and never tries to show his talent when there’s no use (how many should learn this lesson). Every song is concise and goes straight to the point (they’re almost all under the 3 minutes mark). His guitar skill can plainly express itself with the instrumentals. Remington Ride is given the same treatment “Steel Guitar Rag” received on the previous ep. “Flight Of The Beverly Bumblebillies” is a clever mix of Rimsky-Korsakov “Flight Of The Bumble Bee” and the theme from the “Beverly Hillbillies”. Told like this it could sound weird, but it works ! And even if he’s greatly talented (I hope you understood now that I love this guy) I shouldn’t forget to mention the Mad River Outlaws who never fail to deliver the right rhythm section for all of those tunes. This fine platter comes served in a beautifully designed digipack. By far the best album I’ve heard this year.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis
Crazy Joe and the Mad River Outlaws – Sweatin’ Bullets Over You
Atom Records –Atom1006
Mary Ann – Yak Yak Yak – Electric Ukulele Rag – Baby’s Behind – Sweatin’ Bullets Over You
Behind this look of Nasa engineer escaped from “The Right Stuff” hides one of the best new talent I’ve heard for years. “No prisonner!» seems to be Crazy Joe’s anthem on this EP as they open with two wild rockers that knock your socks off.with brilliant guitar work and screamin’ sax on “Yak Yak Yak” (Larry Williams and Little Richard are not too far). “Electric Ukulele” Rag is actually the classic “Steel Guitar Rag” but think about it played by Joe Maphis with the help of Les Paul and a bit of Tiny Moore and you’ll have an idea of the talent of this young (but crazy) guy. It’s time to solw down a bit and the Bakersfield styled “Baby’s behind” is perfect for that. Once again great musical skill and funny lyrics. This fine but short EP ends with “Sweatin’ Bullets Over You” a nice slow song reminiscent of “Trying To Get To You”. Now think about it : guitar wizard, eclectism, funny lyrics… Didn’t you use those words for someone else before? Yes, Crazy Joe is made of the same stuff Deke Dickerson is : the right stuff of course !
Fred “Virgil” Turgis