Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans – Music Gets Us Thru
Man Hat Tome Records
Brad Vickers has a career that goes back to being part of the bands with Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Odetta Sleepy LaBeef and Rosco Gordon. He’s got a new old time sound, blending the sounds from days of yore with new songs and interesting covers. It’s always interesting to see and hear what he’s up to.
Vickers fronts the band and plays guitar and occasional bass. Margey Peters shares in fronting the band and handles most of the bass duties. Bill Rankin is solid on the drums. Jim Davis is super as saxophonist throughout. V.D. King helped produce the album and adds many an instrument throughout. Guests on each cut are noted below. Vickers’ vocals are probably delivered here as well , if not better than, any of their albums. These guys and gal as dedicated to their craft.
“Dumb Like A Fox” gets the set of tunes started. The core group of Vestapolitans deliver a romping and bouncing cut in rockabilly style. Guitar and saxes blare and Brad fronts the band nicely. Jimmy Reed’s “Take It Slow” adds Mikey Junior on harp and Dean Shot on guitar who both solo. It’s a good cover and the added musicians help deliver a really good rendition of Reed’s song. “Please Don’t Say” follows, hearkening back to the sounds of the ‘50’s. It’s a slow tune that you could imagine kids back then would have been slow dancing to and grinding it out on the gym floor together. Davis delivers a a dirty and cool tenor sax solo on this one. Next is “Big Wind;” Peters fronts the band and Charlie Burnham adds his fiddle for an old time sound, a trademark of the band. Davis gets out his licorice stick and enhances that klezmer/old time feeling. The second cover is “I’ll Never Let You Go,” an old Tampa Red piece. Vickers delivers the vocals well and picks put some nice stuff on guitar and Peters back him on vocals. Next is a boogey woogie rock and roll cut “The Music Gets Us Thru,” a nice, swinging cut. Dave Keyes on piano adds to the fun as Vickers nails the Chuck Berry-esque licks. Piano and sax solos make the listener want to get up and dance.
Keyes returns for “Now It’s Time For Me To Sing The Blues” as Peters fronts the band again. This one’s a sad song as Peters drowns her sorrows in the blues. Keyes adds both piano and organ to help build the somber feeling. The pace picks up with “What In The World,” another swinging and jumping tune with a boogey woogie beat. Peters returns with “Grab My Car Keys” as Vickers breaks out the bottle neck guitar. It’s a stripped down trio here with Peters on slide bass and King on upright bass. “I’ll Be Sittin’, I’ll Be Rockin’” is up next; this one is an old Larry Darnell cut. The feeling here is updated from the original with a more stripped down sound. King on accordion is an interesting touch. Davis on sax does a fine job. The pacing is a big labored; the tempo is a little slow but the playing is cool. It’s a Vestapolitanized version. Peters does “Birds On My Family Tree,” another slow and old styled cut. Dave Gross does a nice job adds his guitar here as Vickers picks up the bass. Gross’ solo is sweet and Davis on sax remains steady with his and his backing. “When I Am Drinking” concludes the set, an old J.B, Lenoir song. Vickers and Peters share the lead vocals as they lay out a groove on guitar and bass. Davis’ sax is right up front here as the band takes this a bit more mid tempo than the original and give it their own sound.
Dedicated to the frontline workers who persevered throughout the pandemic. Produced pre-Covid, the band released the album now, their seventh effort. Brad and Peters have developed a unique sound and a core audience of Vestapolitan fans. Mixing old time sounds that hearkens back to days gone by, Brad and the band remain true to their roots and deliver a fun set of tunes.