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JIM GAFFIGAN/Obsessed: The cat that prides himself on being white bread, as well as his love for white bread, brings it in front of a live audience at the Wilbur in Boston where he unloads his current white bread feelings, with an awful lot of skewed stuff that reminds you how deceiving looks and outlooks can be until you peer beneath the surface. While you know a guy like Chris Parnell is putting you on, Gaffigan's subversiveness keeps catching you unaware. Gaffigan is a laugh riot making the most out of the mundane in ways we only consider in the back of our minds. This is a great laugh riot to finally chase the winter blues away. Check it out.

RENAUD GARCIA-FONS/Beyond the Double Bass: A deluxe look back at the bass player's last ten albums as befit's a label stalwart, there's tracks from the last two decade's worth of recordings and a DVD documentary that gives you all the updating you need on this trend setting cat. Reminiscent of the kind of novelists that blossomed in obscurity, Garcia-Fons has been doing it his way, going his own way since he was 21 and the results gathered over time are pure art tailor made for deep listeners. His music isn't too challenging for the casual listener. Just the contrary, it's open to all who want to partake, it's just not designed for people whose taste runs to talent shows. A killer compilation of borderless world jazz, this is compilation that's hard to beat and makes you want to hear more. Well done.

THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS/Therapy: A bunch of English jazzbos that got their start playing live between dj sets has since relocated to Nawlins where they keep it hopping no matter who's ahead or behind. Not aping the old time jazzbo Mastersounds, this bunch of upstarts that already have 15 years under their belts, pick and choose the best of the old and make it nu in fine style. Sounding like porno funk from the future on Mars, this crew knows how to keep it hot and happening and always a gasser. All you really need is to throw this behind some space strippers that would turn Captain Kirk on and, viola! Non stop fun! High octane stuff that goes the distance with ease.

LAST HOMBRES/Odd Fellows Rest: Originally starting out in the shadow of one of Levon Helm's late career comebacks, the band has regrouped after ten years off doing their own things and the lay off hasn't done any noticeable damage. Still pals anyway through it all, this is eclectic 60s feeling music at it's best and least iconic clichéd. The kind of roots/bar band that makes you wish the bars didn't have closing times, this is a solid dose of feel good music for rockers that have a little stiffness in their joints but don't want to let it slow them down.

WALTER TROUT/The Blues Came Callin': In what hopefully isn't Trout's last album as he battles liver disease while trying to celebrate a 50 year love affair with the blues, this record is the proof he continues to soldier on in the face of adversity--which is pretty much where the blues came from in the first place. A white boy that really has the blues these days, he can still sling a mean ax and doesn't let a little thing like needing a liver transplant hold him back. He's singing his story here, and singing his heart out as well showing his never ending passion for the blues. If you've been a fan and want to kick a few bucks his way while he waits out the transplant list, poke around at www.youcaring.com until you come up with Trout's contribution page.

ALBERT CASTIGLIA/Solid Ground/ The amped up blues shredder is in top form as he changes lot of locales all at once, puts Dave Gross at the helm and focuses on just how hard he can bring it. He can't hide the fact that he's a post war white boy who never picked cotton and never worried about Viet Nam, but other than that, he brings it. Hot, hard and heavy, both musically and lyrically, Castiglia has easily hit the high water mark of his last two decades of being a road warrior. Check it out.

PACIFIKA/Amor Planeta: These world beaters simply take their time to hone their craft after each release to keep it fresh and on the tip. They took longer to get this one out and the extra time to check out changes and where they might be headed paid off nicely. Equally groovy, world beat, ambient and other sounds from the edge, this is a fine outing for the open eared to get turned on to new muses. A well done set from a crew that appears to be in it for the long haul keeping it fresh throughout.

VIPER MAD TRIO/Buddy Bolden's Blues: Down with the old timey stuff as hard as R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders were, this trio brings a different kind of passion to it making it not sound like hokum. Swinging as hard as the Mighty Casey was when he wasn't striking out, their style and flair should at least earn them a place in every Woody Allen movie here after that uses period music from the 30s. They might be young but they've got the authentic feel that really puts this over. Fun stuff throughout that leaves you feeling good.

EDEN BRENT/Jigsaw Heart: There's got to be something in the water Brent is drinking. Dropping an auspicious debut a few years back, then cleaning up all the awards in sight in it's wake, she now comes back bringing south Mississippi to RCA's Nashville studio with Colin Linden at the wheel and takes the blues to church in killer fashion. Crafting her own genre that mixes blues, roots and her own vision, this is an unflinchingly gorgeous album that never strikes a false note and makes you fully believe that fully grown/developed acts can still come out of virtually no where with no where to go but up. Whether tipping the cap to Joan Armatrading or Toni Price, Brent is the piano playing blues hostess with the mostest. Killer stuff throughout that's only going to serve to burnish the legend further.

Volume 38/Number 167
April 16, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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