Big Dez – Chicken in the Car and the Car Can’t Go | Album Review

Big Dez – Chicken in the Car and the Car Can’t Go

Socadisc Records – 2021

Ten Tracks; 37 Minutes

When the cover of an album has a cartoon chicken character driving a car instead of photos of the musicians, you can bet that the band members know how to have fun, and the latest release by Big Dez is evidence of that ability. Big Dez’s sound appears to combine Chicago and Texas styles with rock, soul, and humor. However, the band is international and was selected in 2009 to represent France in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Founding member, guitarist and singer, Phil Fernandez, was born in France to a Bosnian mother and Spanish father, but lives in Amsterdam, although he also travels to Chicago periodically to immerse himself in the blues. This, the band’s tenth release, contains all originals written by Fernandez. Reportedly the plan was to record this album in Chicago, but with the travel restrictions of the pandemic they ended up having it mixed in Chicago remotely (by Jim Godsey), after being recorded in France.

The album opens with the upbeat title track which is so catchy it will leave the listener singing the “hook” without really knowing why there is a chicken in the car. Similarly, the song “300 Miles for a Chat” makes us wonder what the back story is that led to those intriguing lyrics.  “Oh! Baby Doll is a fast-paced old-fashioned rock-and-roll number with some excellent boogie-woogie piano by Lea Worms. And, Guillaume Destarac’s skilled drumming is particularly great on the Latin-influenced “Flip the Coin”. However, all the musicians are masterful, and the vocals are sometimes layered in quite interesting ways. “Fall in Love Again” is a sweet and beautiful ballad, and then the listener is thrown back to the familiar fast-paced, fun and rocking sound of the remaining songs.

Listeners in search of an album with deep, meaningful lyrics might be a bit disappointed in this release, as none of the tracks appear likely to have life-changing influence.  However, those who like hearing extremely talented musicians playing mostly upbeat, danceable and fun blues and blues-rock songs are bound to enjoy this latest album by Big Dez.

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