Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shoe Suede Blues - Saved By the Blues 2002

Shoe Suede Blues - Saved By the Blues 2002


This is the sophomore release for Shoe Suede Blues, whose members include one-time Monkee Peter Tork. It is nice to report that this album is a huge improvement from their live debut (Shoe Suede Blues Live in L.A....).Here, the songs are much shorter, tighter, and more creatively arranged, even if some of the arrangements just don't work (such is the case with their version of "Hound Dog"). Gone are the long solos/jams that clouded their first album. Instead, you have the sounds of very hard-working musicians. While this may not be the best blues album ever made, and it is not as pure as the classics, this album is still a lot of fun with some great songs. The opening (and title) track, "Saved by the Blues," is outstanding, with Tork providing some heartfelt vocals backed by a hot, tight band. The album consists mainly of covers of classic blues songs, which tends to make the band sound like a bar band. This comparison is amplified with the lo-fi sound of the disc. It is the originals that make the album worth getting. Tadg Galleran co-writes several songs here, the best being "Dress Sexy for Me" (co-written with Tork) which features some very witty lines and creative playing. As with their first effort, Tork takes a backseat here and is not the star of the band. He does not sing lead on every track, and he seems content to be the guitarist of this band. Overall, a fun, average blues-rock album with a few sparkling moments. By Aaron Badgley, All Music Guide.
Here's Peter Tork again, instead of tossing off another duet album with James Lee Stanley, here he's got a 4-piece combo playing straightahead blues music. This CD, "Saved By The Blues", was released in 2003--it's partly live performance & partly recorded in the studio, and more than partly, it's an embarassment. I don't deny Tork's genuine love of the blues, but he sounds seriously out of his element on here. Sonically, the CD sounds nice, & drummer John Palmer & bass guitarist Michael Sunday both do a fine job. However, Tork has never exactly been a great singer in the first place, & vocally, he frequently falls flat on his face here, & the one track that he has a writing credit on, "Dress Sexy For Me", is utterly cringe-worthy. Seemingly somewhat aware of his limitations, Tork has guitarist Richard Michaels handle a bunch of the lead vocals, but it doesn't help much. "Kiss and Tell" runs on exhaustingly as if their main goal was to make the song last more than 5 minutes, & it features a guitar solo, presumably by Tork, that is one of the most laughably clumsy and aimless I've ever heard on an official album by a veteran artist, although it does provide the disc with camp value. The album closer "Come On In My Kitchen" is so sluggish, it's eye-roll inducing. Tork largely sounds like he was sleepwalking through his performances on this CD as if it was past his bedtime. They do pull off a nicely-swinging version of "Route 66", but overall, this CD fails to either be gritty & emotional, or to be just plain mindless fun. In other words, it's a major drag.
Jeri Lynne- Organ, Vocals
James Lee Stanley- Vocals
Michael Sunday- Bass
Peter Tork- Guitar, Vocals
John Palmer- Drums, Percussion
Tadg Galleran- Harmonica, Vocals, Keyboards
01. Saved By the Blues 2:40
02. Cab Driver 2:56
03. Help Me 4:16
04. Hound Dog 3:10
05. Route 66 4:00
06. Kiss and Tell 5:24
07. Dress Sexy for Me 3:21
08. Treat Her Right 2:39
09. Big Boss Man 4:16
10. Slender Tender and Tall 2:30
11. Wine- Texas Bbq 3:07
12. Come On in My Kitchen 4:24


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