Joanne Broh Band – Wicked Cool | Album Review

joannebrohbandcdJoanne Broh Band – Wicked Cool

Double V Records  – 2015

9 tracks; 39 minutes

www.joannebroh.com

The Joanne Broh band comes from Oregon and features Joanne on vocals, Jerry Zybach on guitar, Gus Russell on keyboards, Jim Badalich on bass and Dan e. Miller on drums: Mitch Kashmar adds harp to two tracks, Hank Shreve to one; Dana Heitman adds trumpet to one track and a full horn section of Joe McCarthy, Dave Bender, Sean Flannery and Linda Kanter plays on one cut.  Several of the songs come from within the band, the rest from fellow West Coast musicians: Jerry had a hand in six songs, Jim four and Joanne two, Gus arranging a song from outside the band.

With a West Coast band you will expect to find some swing and the title track opens the disc with exactly that, an upbeat shuffle, Mitch Kashmar’s harp accents, Gus’ full sounding organ and Jerry’s light touch on guitar offering a solid foundation for Joanne’s clear vocals.  “Gettin’ Old Blues” offers the view that you “go to bed young and you wake up old” and things don’t get any more cheerful when Joanne sings of your friends passing on if you last long enough – great piano though to offset the rather depressing lyrics!

The top pick here has to be the fabulous “(Shake ‘Er) Like Josephine Baker” which opens with jungle drums and the horn section riffing away behind Joanne’s expressive vocal that recounts the tale of the great singer who had to seek her fortune in Europe due to racial prejudice in the USA at the time.  Another strong song is the funky “Bad Boy” in which Gus’ clavinet gives the tune a 70’s feel to which Jerry adds with some distorted guitar work.  Lyrically Joanne does not sound too concerned that the title character has roving eyes as he remains hers at the end of the night; in fact she sounds quite happy that her guy is admired by other women!

Elsewhere the band offers us some late night blues on “Smokin’ Again”, some mid-paced blues on “Two Way Street” (with Hank Shreve’s harp to the fore) and uptempo swing on “Let’s Work On It” (Mitch on harp again and fine piano and guitar solos).  The band plays in acoustic vein on “Sad Ol’ Heart”, an older song from Jerry whose acoustic guitar is the only accompaniment to Joanne’s vocal on the first verse, the rhythm section joining in later on.

Overall this is a solid disc of mainly original material – worth a listen.

Please follow and like us:
27