11 tracks; 51 minutes
The Thirsty Perch Blues Band’s unusual name provides them with an amusing logo depicting a fish vertical in a beer glass! “Live For Today” is the fourth CD release since 2009 from this Michigan-based band, a five piece with Chris Collins on guitar and vocals, Andy Ogrodzinski on lead and slide guitar, Chuck Luscombe on harp and vocals, Chris Carr on bass and vocals and George Ferguson on drums. The band is supplemented by Paul Lesincki’s keys and Kathy Lamar’s backing vocals on on two tracks each; most of the material is original, written by Chris and the band and there are two covers.
The CD opens strongly with the driving “Blues Walk” which lyrically turns out to be one of those tributes to shapely rear views! Musically the guitar riff holds the tune but the harp playing is sensational as Chuck blows hard as he follows and overtakes the key changes, Andy following up with a fast-paced solo. “Bad Man” is another good tune as Chris explains that you need to avoid such characters “who have nothing for you”. The band is supplemented by Paul’s organ and Kathy’s vocals to give a fuller sound as Chuck and Andy supply more solid solo playing. “Roll With Me Baby” is fairly conventional lyrically, a relative of many blues songs along similar lines, though Andy’s lively slide work is a definite positive.
The first cover is “Say Goodbye”, taken from Dr Wu’s Texas Blues Project which rocks along well with its catchy refrain and clever lyrics. Mind you, TPBB can produce some good lyrics too, as they do on “Conversation”. Over a funk rhythm Chris states that “it ain’t no conversation when there’s only one person on the line…answering machine’s an option, or a voicemail left today…a man of very few words, my actions speak for me”. Chris is seeking a resolution of this non-dialogue relationship but he hasn’t found it yet. The title track “Live For Today” has some aggressive wah-wah playing and fast-paced rhythm work from Chris, the chorus having a definite hook with some solid harmonies from the band. “Can’t Have You” was perhaps the track that appealed least to this reviewer with its heavy feel and histrionic harp playing.
The second cover is Mike Zito’s “39 Days” which is well done in a straight cover of the original. It’s a fine song which also has a heavy riff at its core but also light and shade courtesy of the chorus and second guitar set against the core riff. “The Queen” is a catchy piece of rock with some great slide accents from Andy; perhaps it’s the title or the main riff, but Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” comes to mind. In the middle section Andy and Chris get into one of those twin guitar pieces that always remind you of The Allman Brothers so this tune is a winner on several fronts! A more conventional blues shuffle follows in “Shake Those Blues”, the chorus harmonies benefiting from Kathy’s second vocal contribution, joining the efforts of the band members.
As the PR release sheet states, this album is ‘ten bad-ass new songs and a pretty one..’ and closer “One More Day” is just Chris on acoustic guitar and Andy on quiet slide embellishments, Chris wishing that he had one more day to spend with his lost friend. It’s an emotional song and shows a different side to the band.
This is a solid album with sufficient interesting material and performance to attract the interest of blues fans out there.