13 songs – 41 minutes
Sugar Daddy Blues Band is a veteran three-piece group of multi-instrumentalists and vocalists from who deliver a pleasant mix of modern blues from their base in Greenville, S.C., as evidenced by this disc, the fourth self-produced CD in their catalog.
Former winners of the Director’s Award in the 2011 Nashville International Song & Lyric Contest, the group has about 100 combined years in the music business and is composed of drummer/harmonica player John Hawkins, guitarist/keyboard player Warren Rollins and bassist/keyboard player/guitarist Mike Lagerholm, who trade turns at lead and background vocals and who’ve written all 13 tracks of this CD.
The project kicks off with “Dreaming Of Loving You,” a medium tempo shuffle remembrance of a first meeting with a good woman and the upbeat message of still being together and holding hands. The vocalist has a pleasant tenor delivery as he paints the picture. I’d identify the singer, but can’t because the liner notes are woefully brief. “Island Time,” a song of desire driven by a simple, repeating keyboard line, features “evergreen water and sugar-white sand” and the offer to “show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” The singer on this one has a much huskier, weathered voice as he clearly delivers his agenda.
The aural texture changes dramatically for “Lightning Boy,” an uptempo boogie, as a baritone with a smoky voice takes control. It’s a reworking of the blues legend of meeting the devil at the crossroads and trading one’s soul for guitar skills. In this one, the devil returns 40 years later for payment. And the texture changes once more to modern keyboard-driven soul-blues for “Never Ending Cycle Of Love.” In it, the first vocalist takes command to deliver an image-filled opus that compares the ebb and flow of a relationship to waves hitting the shore.
“Blues Cruisin’” is an upbeat, gentle, down-to-earth tune about the desire to pack up everything and hit the road for gigs. It’s clear that someone in the band, which is based in South Carolina’s northwest Upcountry, has a hankering for the ocean because this tune contains images of the sea, too, as do others. “Corner Of My Mind” is another medium, modern blues shuffle about the memories that remain after a relationship has fallen apart. In this case, the couple’s still together in the place cited in the title.
Not to be confused with the old standard, “Blue Moon” is a simple, quiet slow blues about the realization that a love affair is over while “Hot Summer Days” sings about the wait for warm weather and the resumption of a relationship that’s been put on hold. “I’m Your Sugar Daddy” is a steady-rocking modern blues about supporting someone who’s deserving and simply needs a helping hand in life to get by. The syncopated “Cool Blue Night” describes a tantalizing hypnotizer with coal-black hair and raven eyes – “through her smile came only lies.”
“It’s A Hard Day” starts off with a guitar flourish but quickly settles into a steady blues-rocker about the last days of a romance. “Oh Temptetion” – the band’s spelling, not mine – deals with someone who’s bad news and is curled up and about to strike. The title song, “Schemes And Dreams,” concludes the set. It’s a fast shuffle in which the singer believes he has more money and women than he could ever need before realizing it was all a dream.
Available through direct download from the Sugar Daddy Blues Band website, Schemes And Dreams features first-rate material and musicianship throughout. The band’s a polished group of veterans who are worthy a spin.