Connor Ray Music – 2015
9 tracks; 46 minutes
Bob Lanza comes from New Jersey though his latest CD was recorded in Houston, Texas. Bob works generally in a trio format with ‘Mild’ Bill Lagreca on bass and Jake O’Handley on drums. Bob handles all guitar and lead vocals and the band is augmented here by Steve Krase’s harp, keyboards by either Ed ‘Doc’ Wall or Randy Wall, Trudy Lynn adding occasional backing vocals; engineer Dan Skye fills in on bass on one number and adds to the backing vocals and Mike V plays rubboard. Unfortunately no writing credits are given on the album but I assume that Bob wrote most of the material though there are certainly two familiar covers here.
The album opens with the strong riff-driven “For Loving You” on which Bob double tracks some excellent slide work. Bob sounds a little strained vocally on this one but seems more at home on the shuffle “All Over Again” which has piano and harp added to the trio. You can hear Trudy Lynn’s backing vocals on the slower “Love And Kindness”, Bob singing of the need for compromise in relationships, providing some soaring guitar alongside Steve’s distinctive harp. The title track “Hero To Zero” has a Texan feel and “My Home Is A Prison” is an extended slow blues with Steve and Bob playing some tough blues together though for this reviewer Steve’s harp style is simply too strident but that will be a matter of taste, others will probably love it! “It Ain’t About Me” rocks along well with Bob’s slide getting another outing; “Evil World” starts with some incomprehensible chatter before Bob and Steve play some acoustic blues on a tune that sounds quite a lot like Little Walter’s “Mean Old World”.
The two definite covers are a solid version of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” on which Bob’s fine guitar work is well supported by organ and a funky take on “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog” is excellent with Bob providing solid guitar, well supported by organ and Steve playing in a more restrained manner to good effect – probably the standout track here in this reviewer’s opinion. Bob is not Bobby Bland (who is?) but sings this one well.
This appears to be Bob’s third CD release and will undoubtedly please existing fans as well as having enough positives to win over some new ones.