74 tracks (61 blank, 13 songs)
Recorded in the deep woods of North Carolina at Houndsounds Studios, the debut recording of the Moonpie Band is an eclectic mix of blues, soul, rock, R&B, funk and who knows what else. Ranging from the traditional to a little interstellar weirdness, the album grows on the listener. Robert Marlowe on guitar, T Bone Betourney on drums. Robert “RC” Christian on vocals, Mike Longiovino on bass and Russell Pleasants on backing vocals are the Moonpies. There is some help on guitars, vocals, keys and harp and the most notable are listed below.
The album opens with the original “F In Funk.” SInce Muddy put the Unk in Funk, they figured they’d better put the F up there. RC sings as Marlowe beats out some nice guitar work. Gary Pope adds slide and Dale MacPherson blows a little harp. Straight Chicago blues, a nice hook. “Country Girl”is a swing tune as RC sings and Pleasants helps out, too. I liked the sound and the swing was danceable and fun. Marlowe picks out a nice solo and supporting lines, too. “Squeeze Play Blues” is the third straight original and by now interest peaks. A baseball song written after and Oriole/Nationals game no less. Pope slides well and the boys use baseball analogies and innuendos as RC and Russell sing about their attempts to woo. Interesting song and the slide is non-stop fun and the corny yet funny innuendos are also non-stop. Great lyrics!
Pops Staples’ “Hope In A Hopeless World” is blues and soul. The wah pedal makes for what Marlowe calls a “gospel porn touch.” An apt description. It’s like going to church only without the sacred. Lorette Christian does a duo with RC and it’s delivered well. The original “Sweet Tooth” follows. Funky fun with a strong bass line. Both RC and Russell share the vocal job; RC is more effective than Russell here. Big guitar solo and a little fun as the boys do a take off on “I Like Candy.” “I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog” is a Bobby “Blue” Bland cut and RC takes things seriously and is quite intriguing. I liked it a lot! Nice guitar and Pleasants comes in for some vocal support, too.
They cover Jimmy Vaughn’s “Hey Yeah” which is rocked and amped up from the original. The Hey’s and Yeah’s are the same, but they mix things up and it works. Lots of guitars here. “Lonesome and Then Some” is a Tommy Castro cut. Jeff Cochran plays guitar here and it’s sweet. Good work! “Kiss” is next. A Prince song? Why not? Done in flamenco meets the swamp style, they give it a Moonpie spin and make it sound completely different than the original.
Billy Ray Charles’ “Viagra” was apparently done in two parts. One day drunk even. But it works. RC shines as he sings and testifies. I came away from this knowing Moscato ain’t free and that RC is a bad ass. “Like A Puma” is an original that’s next. Pumas, cougars, whatever; they are all the same. A song of aggressive a middle aged lustful woman. It’s fun and bouncy stuff. Dave Hood’s sax adds a nice touch. The closed the listed songs with Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle.” A tribute to Coco, i’s fun but sounds a bit disjointed. My least favorite cut of the album, but you can tell they are trying hard.
61 blank 4 second tracks follow and then they add “Funky Carolina,” which converts Rufus Thomas’ “Funky Mississippi” to their state. A funky travelogues for North Carolina. It’s fun but I don’t understand 61 blank tracks being there. They complete the effort well with their Muscle Shoals lite ensemble and it was a fun listen. First time through I honestly said, “WTF?” but with a couple more listens I was saying more like, “Why not?” It’s fun stuff. RC is a credible front man, the original songs are cool and the cover are very much their own. Check them out- you won’t be disappointed. The Moonpies are individually wrapped for freshness and after you sample them a few times it become really a lot of fun to listen to. A nice debut for sure!