Americana Kitchen – “Come And Get It” Vol. 1
20 songs time-Side 1-49:10 Side 2-48:13
This studio project featuring talented musicians from San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles is the brainchild of guitarist Danny Johnson who wrote all the songs, arranged and produced. American roots music is represented here in various configurations including blues, jazz, rock & roll, funk, soul, rhythm & blues, swing, country, bluegrass and gospel. The production values and performances are top notch. There is pretty much something here for everyone.
Many of the songs are represented in two versions with one receiving three. “Jumpin Jack” Benny’s first vocal turn on “Hard Love” displays his steadfast vocal in a rock context with Blair Masters’ tasty piano playing and a searing guitar solo courtesy of Danny Johnson. His second version on side 2(the liner notes refer to the two discs as sides 1 and 2) is in a country-ish vain with acoustic guitar, fiddle, resonator guitar and pedal steel guitar. Once again a strong vocal. “Blood Of The Blues” receives three treatments. One with vocals by “Jumpin Jack” Benny and two by Francesca Capasso. His version is a piercing blues that includes his yearning vocal over organ and soaring electric guitar by Danny Johnson. Francesca’s first version frames her powerful pipes in a jazzy setting that showcases a stunning fretless bass solo by John Avila. Her second take tones her voice down just a tad and has a sexy late night vibe to it.
Francesca Capasso’s first version of “You Better Think Twice” has her belting it out over a jazz quartet. The next version finds Benny Cortez in a jazz meets blues setting complete with Hammond B-3 organ, resonator guitars, harmonica and sax. Benny sings the first take on “Catch That Train” as a rockin’ blues with him on harmonica and the ever capable Danny Johnson on guitars. Michael Sanchez delivers a country version featuring piano, resonator guitar, mandolin, sax and un-credited fiddle.
“The Christmas Song”, a Danny Johnson original is a lovely slow holiday ballad in the hands of Andee Avila and Francesca Capasso. Version number two is a country flavored take with Francesca handling the vocal by herself against piano, guitars, banjo and fiddle.
Francesca sings both versions of “Living Out Loud” with the first a being a guitar rocker. Her second go round sounds like it could of jumped off an episode of “Hee-Haw” with its’ banjo, mandolin and fiddle pickin’ and a grinnin’. Oh yes, that’s meant as a compliment.
Michael Sanchez delivers the funk goods on “New World”. Electric piano, funky organ and bass do the trick. A sung Broadway-ish intro leads into Francesca Capasso’s rompin’ “Run Little Red” where the spirit and guitar of Chuck Berry hover above. Also features a SNL sax solo by Tom Keenlyside. Big Mike Vasquez offers up a Zydeco meets country song in “Just Fine For Now” with accordion and pedal steel guitar. A bit repetitive, but a fine toe tapper.
Michelle Sanchez duets with her brother Michael on “In Real Life” and steps out on her own on the slow soul ballad “So Tired Of Running” and the slow and beautiful “Jesus I’ve Got A Friend In You”.
Quite a well realized project spotlighting talent unknown outside of California. Oh my goodness does Danny Johnson have the Midas touch in production, arrangements, song writing and guitar skills. The cast of singers and players are of the first order making this a totally enjoyable experience that reveals more at each listening and variety to spare.