“Chicago” Carl Snyder and Friends – Lost World Blues
Lost World Music
CD: 14 Songs, 64:00 Minutes
Styles: Horn Blues, “Classic Contemporary” Blues, Ensemble Blues
Summer brings rhyming words to mind: sun, run, a ton of fun. It’s also a great time for outdoor festivals. With elevated temperatures comes an elevated desire to hear boisterous music. That’s the kind of Lost World Blues that “Chicago Carl Snyder and Friends play on their latest album. Horns are its chief highlight, along with its party vibe and “classic contemporary” style – an appealing blend of traditional and postmodern blues. Fourteen tracks and over sixty minutes provide a balanced mixture of covers (“I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” “Don’t Deceive Me,” “Stormy Monday” et al.), and original material. Several vocalists lend their pipes to this endeavor, as do several instrumentalists. They sustain a blazing level of energy throughout the CD, even on slower songs such as “Slip On Outta Sight.” That’s the upside. The downside is that it’s hard to focus on particular instrumental lines when everything from horns to harp is “going all out.” At a live festival, this would be fantastic, but on a studio album, it can be a tad overwhelming. To counter this, grab a dance partner and a cold bottle of your favorite beverage.
“Chicago” Carl Snyder, author of Ten Thousand and One Nights (reviewed by Mark Thompson for BluesBlast), actually grew up in Boston. His father gave him piano lessons, hoping he’d become a prodigy. However, Snyder found he preferred Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry over Mozart and Bach. As an adult, he found himself a writer for Playboy assigned to review music. Magic happened at live performances by Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Bobby Blue Bland. Carl acquired a keyboard, mastered it, and the rest is…a remarkable blues and writing career.
Accompanying Snyder on keys are thirteen lead vocalists: Dan Noland, Jimmy Lawrence, Phil Pilorz, Sonny Corso, Slim (just Slim), Mike Metallia, Jean Avery, Billy Sharp, Thom Palmer, Christopher Dean, Frederick Douglas, Frank Mirra, and Larry Burton. Many of these musicians also play other instruments such as harp and guitar. Also joining “Chicago” Carl are guitarists Charles “Chuck-a-Luck” Crane, Eric Steckel, and Benno Rupp. Bassists include Solomon Snyder, Al Guerrero, Bill Dickens, Chuck Hearne, Doug Brown, Rich Curtis, Jeff Van Sant, David Foti, Margey Peters, and Billy Troiani. Featured drummers are Matt Walker, Dick “the Stick” Klein, Casey Jones, Don Plowman, Dawn Dengler, Dave Ferrara, Allen Wanamaker, Mike Antol, Jim Groller, Bill Rankin and Gary Kubai. The horn section consists of William Sims/Skinny Williams on alto sax, Dave Dionisi, Jim Davis and Allan Meyerson on tenor sax, Brian Ripp and Jed Koch on sax, Dan Batarick on trumpet and cornet, Matt Cowan on baritone sax, and D. Keith Sneddon on trombone. Mike Mettalia and Kid Java guest star on harp, Dan McKinney on organ, and Chuck Steele on clarinet. Background vocalists are Liz Mandville-Greeson, Nikki Armstrong, Miranda St. Croix and Melanie Lonz.
The following song has a smooth jazz rhythm, a killer bassline, and a mood fit for a movie.
Track 10: “Slip On Outta Sight” – Imagine this number in a film noir. The narrator and his lover might be an average pair, but what if they were a gangster and his moll? A businessman who hired a gentleman or lady of the evening? Two diamond smugglers? “Let’s get going. Let’s get to it. Let’s slip on outta sight.” Such imperatives are direct and dirty – not the stuff of religious romance novels. The horns and piano here are sensational, as is Thom Palmer’s guitar.
If you’re a fan of ensemble efforts and want a hip-swinging time, Lost World Blues is for you!