The Jimmy Zee Band – What you see is what you get.
10 tracks/40 minutes
Canadian Jimmy Zee has released 6 albums over his 25 plus year music career. Sporting a unique gravelly voice that some might find hard to digest, his bio would probably agree with the listener. “Zee’s vocals approximate a cross between Joe Cocker after a carton of Lucky Strikes and Robbie Robertson’s latter spoken style.” I must say they are interesting. All the songs here were penned by Jimmy Zee.
The album features many fine Candian musicians. Zee and Nadine States sing lead here and Rob MacDonald and Tim Porter are on guitar. Miles Hill does duty on bass, Joel Fountain is on drums, and Darryl Havers is on keyboards. Harpdog Brwon does the harp work and Steve Hillman is on sax. A few guests also add their touches here and there.
The title tracks get things started. The title of the song has the requisite capitalization of the words and lacks a period; the album title is a sentence. A nice, bouncy tune with acoustic guitar and some slide which gets the listener their first hint of Zee’s growling and gruff vocals and Annabelle Cvostek backing him. It begins to grow on you after a few listens- it’s unique for sure. The baritone sax adds a cool backing to the track and the harp is a nice addition. Swampy harp and dobro on “Backroads” are fun. Zee and Rick Threat are featured on vocals. Threat is 180 out from Zee, offering a bit of a contrast. Nadine States joins us with some chants on the driving and big sounding “I Ride Alone.” Huge electric guitar, harp and an overall big-time groove make this one interesting. States joins on backing vocals for “Time Will Heal Everything.” A slower paced cut, the songs is probably as close to a ballad as Zee can get. A down home country blues with a stinging electric guitar solo is what we have and it’s good. “Money” is next, with sweet guitar by Porter and more bari sax by Hillman to give us a good ride.
“My Old Lady is a Freakshow” compares his woman wit an old Detroit automobile. That being said, the song is pretty cool. A jumping and uptempo beat and howling vocals on top of the guitar and harp make this cool. Things cool off with “Blind.” Dobro and harp make this sound kind of front porch, but Zee states he wrote this while driving to China with a non-English speaking guy who kept a great beat on the dashboard. No matter, it’s a nicely done piece. The craziness of the feminine mystique is the topic of “She’s a Mystery to Me.” The harp and vocals drive together as the mid tempo beat throbs and we get a nice little guitar solo to boot. “Your the Best It Can Get” features Terry Townson on trumpet. Written in part during an airplane delay at Toronto airport, Zee’s beat and pacing express a little frustration. Zee concludes with “I’m No Good Without You.” MacDonald’s dobro sold Zee on making the acoustic version of the cut be the one and it is pretty. The electric guitar slide solo also makes a nice little contrast, too.
The vocals are rough. They might not please purists. If you like rough hewn vocals with an edge then this will probably please you. The songs are really good and the band is great, too. Jimmy Zee is an interesting character and if you want something a little off the beaten path then take a chance with this one! I enjoyed it.