Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans – Twice As Nice
Man Hat Tone Records
Brad Vickers and the Vestapolitans are champions of an old time music sound. Ragtime, hill country, and all sorts of other roots influences are mixed together with a singing style that matches the music. The Vestapolitans are Brad Vickers on vocals and guitar/bottleneck guitar, Jim Davis on clarinet and tenor sax, Margey Peters on bass and vocals, and Bill Rankin on drums. Special guests abound with Charlie Burnham on violin, Dave Gross on guitar, Mikey Junior on vocals and harp, Dave Keyes on keys, V.D. King on sax, guitar upright bass, banjoele, percussion, keys, and vox, and Den Shot on guitar.
Things open with “Worried Life Blues,” the Big Maceo tune that Chuck Berry rocked to. Brad and Company slow things down and give it the down home treatment. Nice guitar by Dean Shot here, sax and piano solos are also featured here. “Mississippi Swamp” seems to me to be a remake of “Rolling and Tumbling” with Vickers on bottleneck guitar and Mikey Junior blowing some mean harp. “Love Can Win” features bass player Margey Peters on lead vocals, a slow to mid tempo blues. Brad and Margey share the vocals on a slow and interesting Jimmy Reed cover; “Close Together” gets turned into a Vestapolitan-styled blues. Things pick up with “Coast To Coast,” a driving tune with Dave Keys leading the assault on piano and V.D. King on baritone sax. Peters wrote the tune and Vickers fronts the band here as he rocks and rolls and swings on guitar. Peters also wrote the title track which she sings in an old-time style as Jim Davis lays out some slick licorice stick and tenor work as Vickers excels on the bottleneck guitar again.
“Red Dust” features both Brad and Margey on vocals along with Mikey Junior. Vickers slides nicely and King pounds out the percussion in a Native American Indian lament that is both interesting and thoughtful. “Everything I Need” pays tribute to Jimmy Reed again, this time in a great sounding Chicago shuffle. Will Shades’ jug band song “Stealin’ Stealin’” gets Vestapolitanized with Margey fronting the band with Mikey in support, an old time sound with a fun pacing. Tampa Red’s “Look A There Look A There” with Shot on guitar again and Mikey laying out some mean harp. Davis on tenor and King on baritone sax blend sweetly, too. Dave Gross joins the fray for the final tune “Brooklyn Evenings.” The guitar is sublime and the song hearkens back to a time before all of us were born.
Vestapolitan fans will clamor for this one. If you are not familiar with Vickers and his band and their style, this will give you a full taste of the sort of things they do. Featuring a great group of regular and visiting musicians, you’ll get a good sampling of their stuff and how they mix music and a little humor to practice their craft.