Small and Nimble Records
CD: 12 Songs; 54:20 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Texas Blues, Blues Rock
“Illegal duplication is a violation of applicable laws and can get you socked in the nose, too.” So reads the hilarious warning on the back of Austin TX based Guy Forsyth’s eighth studio album, The Pleaser. Guy makes a valiant endeavor to please several types of music lovers at once: electric guitar fans, harmonica fans, straight-up rock-and-roll fans, and Texas blues fans. He mostly succeeds, but, for an artist, being so hard to classify is a two-sided coin. Guy will turn people’s “heads” with his versatile style, especially if they want to party. On the other hand, purists might turn up their “tails” at some of his twelve original tunes.
Nevertheless, his promotional info sheet features impressive credentials. Not only has Guy performed as a part of several bands (this one, the Hot Nut Riveters, his solo act, and the Asylum Street Spankers), but he and his music have been featured in festivals and films alike. Forsyth has performed across the U.S., as well as in Canada, France, and the Netherlands. His movie soundtrack credits include The Waking Life, The Newton Boys, Hands on a Hard Body, and Before the Music Dies, among others. He was voted Male Vocalist of the Year at the Austin Music Awards in 2005, and his sixth CD, Love Songs: For and Against, was a Billboard chart’s Top Ten Blues album.
Accompanying Forsyth on this album, as he performs on vocals, harmonica and guitar, are George Rarey on lead guitar and vocals, Naj Conklin on bass and vocals, and Mark Hays on drums and vocals. Three of the twelve tracks were either written or co-written by Rarey, and Conklin co-wrote one. The following are top picks for private listening, if not radio airplay subject to FCC regulations:
Track 02: “Play to Lose” – As heartbroken souls might tell you, love is always a gamble, especially if one or more partners is cheating. With a smoldering guitar intro that would make SRV proud, this slow burner’s a great song to play at bars: “Why’d you want to go and [expletive] it all up? You gonna lose, baby if you play with me, but you don’t have to take my word…I said, baby, just you wait and see.” The second verse possesses powerhouse vocals.
Track 03: “Carried By Six (Pop’s Blues”) – The saying contained in the title and refrain contains one man’s answer to a possibly-fatal dilemma: “I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.” Meaning, he’d rather face a courtroom and prison cell than his own coffin, borne by pallbearers. The guitar solo here is the best on the album, hotter than Texas barbecue sauce.
Track 04: “Put a Little Sex In It” – “Paint yourself a pretty girl, but forget to paint the dress,” is our protagonist’s advice to aspiring artists. “Put a little sex in it. It makes the world go round.” This ultimate guilty-pleasure song has a lot of hot sax in it, as well as sass.
To Texas blues and blues rock fans, The Pleaser will appeal!