10 songs time-37:02
Dr. Wu’ is the brainchild of Jim Ashworth and Bryan Freeze. It’s not a band per se, but a series of concept albums with a rotating crop of regional musicians. A Texas version of The Alan Parsons Project. Taking their name and concept from Steely Dan, the duo write/co-write, mix and produce all the songs. Hard to tell who does what in most cases as there is no list of who plays what on any given track. Suffice it to say the musicianship is first rate throughout the proceedings. Most of the songs have a Texas macho guitar vibe and attitude. Sort of like Z.Z. Top meets the best of southern rock. Lots of testosterone on hand here.
Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show come to mind when hearing “I Still Got Your Tattoo”, a humorous southern style rocker. The vocals throughout are hearty by whomever is singing. “Take Me Off Your List” is a horn bolstered rocker that benefits from some real nifty slide guitar. Voodoo woman put a spell on me…yada, yada, yada…you pretty much get the drift of the sentiment of “Lost In Louisiana”. Not much in the lyric department, but a nice chugging little rocker with fine guitar, harmonica and horns.
Buddy Whittington, John Mayall’s guitarist of choice for sixteen years, apparently makes an appearance on these CDs. His first instrumental “Buddy’ Bolero” finds him laying done mellow guitar lines alongside strings. Meanwhile on “Buddy’s Boogie” he kicks his bluesy guitar slinging into overdrive for a fun musical romp.
“Mistletoe Heights” is a slow lament about a romantic encounter. Plenty of guitar, organ by Red Young and a nicely heavy bass line. I get a bit more of a Dr. Hook vibe on “Her Folks Got Lots Of Money”, a freeloaders tale. Ok, they rock out harder with some wicked slide work. Ready for a Z.Z. Top-ish Texas rocker? Check out “Love Of A Woman”. Great bass line there as well.
Latin percussion is infused into the horn driven “I’m Somebody’s Son”, along with jazzy guitar and organ. They “rhyme” run with stone. Ouch! Big voiced Yolanda Walker duets with somebody on “Baby I Love You”. That lady can rattle the walls with those pipes.
While it is not for the traditional blues fan, this project clicks on all counts. Good songs, plenty of good guitar, good singing and great production values. If you are particular to southern-styled rock music, you’ve arrived at the right place. Rock on Dr. Wu’!