8 songs time-35:02
Santa Barbara, California’s Paradise Kings offer up a stew of rockabilly, fifties rock, jump and bar band style blues music. Lead singer Henry Garrett has a gruff voice that is passable, but the lyrics can use some work. They tend to be mediocre. The rhythm section of drummer George Lambert and bassist Michael Robertson are fine along with keyboard man Chris Ulep. The saving grace of the band are the outstanding guitar skills of Jeff Gring. His tone, dexterity and taste make me await his every solo. The guy is just that good. To use the tired old cliché, the songs tend to go down a bit easier after each listening.
Jeff’s rockabilly-meets Chuck Berry-meets fifties rock guitar leads into the opening track “’69 Chevy”. Oh, that tone! It’s an ode to a beloved car. The lyrics to “I’d Sing The Blues If I Had ‘Em” are cringe worthy. Piano and sorta blues guitar salvage the song. Funky guitar and organ propel the upbeat “Three Strikes”. “Slow Down” lives up to it’s title, it’s a slow blues that bares a resemblance to the late, great Robert Lucas’ gritty style in tune and voice.
Jan Ingram fills in for Henry as she handles the vocal capably on “Butter Me Up”, a funk filled romp. “Patience” is another slow blues with some nifty blues guitar by Jeff. “Poor Me, Poor Me Pour Me Another Drink” offers a similar sentiment to the blues classic “One Bourbon, One Scotch And one Beer”. It features the heaviest guitar of the CD. The ambiance of Soho Music Club gives the vocal an echoed sound on the live take of “Money Ain’t My Friend”.
Good intentions don’t necessarily make a good record, such is the case here. A few tweaks such as more creative lyrical content and improved vocals would do a lot for this band. Jeff Gring’s guitar skills surely can’t be faulted. His pickin’ is worth the price of admission. This music probably would fare better in a bar full of inebriated patrons. You really can’t fault these guys for trying.