12 songs – XX minutes
Don’t let the appearance of this debut CD fool you. Although Cold Sweat Roc is a hard-hitting three-piece ensemble from Rochester, N.Y., as symbolized by the muted sepia-tone image of a flaming guitar on the cover, they’re a solid blues band beneath their initial flash.
In this incarnation, the band’s led by Ray Sciarratta on bass and lead vocals, with Steve Casilio handling guitar and contributing backing vocals. Mike Giugno, a longtime veteran of the Rochester music scene, handles the drums. As announced in the liner notes of this CD, on future endeavors, Roger Reddy will join the group on keyboards and vocals. He’s in the Guinness Book Of World Records as a member of the band Cleveland, which is credited with the longest rock concert in history.
Sciarratta and Casilio contribute 11 of the 12 Introductions originals, which kick off with “Tease My Baby,” a guitar-powered blues-rocker atop a fast shuffle rhythm pattern. Sciarratta’s vocal delivery is clear and solid within a limited range, while the bottom is solid on the beat. Next up, “All Alone” is an image-filled rocker of regret after a woman’s sudden departure. The bluesy “Black & Blue” describes a rocky relationship that resembles a revolving door. Casilio’s mid-song solo stands out.
Next up, “Magic Grapes” is a jazz-tinged blues instrumental with a funky feel and is driven by an extended and tasty guitar run throughout. It’s a real departure from the previous material and shows clearly that, when they put their minds to it, Cold Sweat Roc truly is a solid blues ensemble. Sciarratta displays vocal gymnastics on “Blaze,” a rocker that features a challenging melody pattern doubled on guitar. Another song describing a difficult relationship, “Just The Same,” follows before another solid blues number, “Mississippi Hot Sauce.” Written by Gary Twentymon, it’s a driving boogie in the style of John Lee Hooker that features a spoken intro that launches into a lyrical description of a trip to a barbeque.
“Out Shootin’ Dice” delivers a blues feel and the message that the singer would have been much better off at home with his baby who doesn’t like being alone instead of losing his money, drinking too much and messing with another woman. He definitely fears the repercussions. The band adopts blues flavored Latin rhythms for the instrumental “Spanish Dance” before the syncopated “Test Of Time” and the rocker “Things We Do For Love” before the fiery “Hard Livin’” concludes the set.
Available through CDBaby and Amazon, this disc seems to display a band with potential in its formative stages. It will be interesting to hear what they produce next.