CD: 11 Songs, 51:28 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs, Debut Album
Question, blues fans: Are you also fans of Louis Armstrong’s vocal style? Don’t dismiss this. Your answer is the fulcrum upon which your opinion of Pennsylvania’s Dutch’s Basement Blues Band, and their album In the Basement, will balance. Was that last sentence too long? Yes. Is it true? Also yes. No doubt about it, Mr. Armstrong was THE jazz musician of the 20th century, the one everybody remembers if the names of Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie don’t ring a bell. His unique singing skills are worth imitating, but can also be grating. In the Basement might have been better if lead vocalist Daniel ‘Dutchman’ Diefenderfer had let a female guest star take a turn at the mic for a couple of songs. As is, it’s “Louis Louis” all the way. On the plus side, the Dutchman plays great harmonica, and his sense of humor is the absolute best Ms. Wetnight has seen in all the CD’s she’s reviewed this year. This one’s worth having in your blues collection, just for that. Keep your mind sharp so you can pay close attention to his lyrics.
The group’s rather sparse promo info sheet states: “The first thing that hits you when you listen to this band is the Dutchman’s voice.” (No kidding: I wrote the above paragraph before reading this.) “Any description would have to include the word ‘gravel.’ He also plays harmonica, but the next thing that will jump out at you is the lead guitar work. Locals are still perplexed as to why a blues performer putting together a blues band would turn to an international punk rocker, famous for lighting guitars on fire, to work with…The result is a symbiotic team that is both energetic and entertaining…They wrote all the material for their first CD release, which includes an impressive eleven original songs.”
Performing along with the Dutchman on lead vocals and harp are Matt Roman on electric guitar, Pat Allen on drums, and Adam Roberts on bass.
The number below is not only the best one on this quartet’s first release, but also the funniest.
Track 06: “My Shoe’s Untied” – “Hey! My shoe’s untied! (“Hey! Your shoe’s untied!”) This call-and-response had me busting up laughing as soon as they blurted out of my computer’s CD/DVD player. Another good one is, “Eh, my shirt’s undone!” (“Dude! You look like a slob!”) Our narrator’s point? His life is just as messy as his appearance. We’ve all had one of those days, months, years, or even decades. What’s to console us in the midst of them? The blues, of course. This slow burner showcases Matt Roman’s terrific lead guitar and the Dutchman’s harmonica to greatest effect.
Love Louis Armstrong? Give Allentown’s Dutch’s Basement Blues Band and their debut the old college try. Down In the Basement, there’s lots of down-and-dirty fun and laughter to be had!