10 tracks; 36 minutes.
Moondog Medicine Show is a band from Western Maryland and consists of Lana Spence (vocals) Joel Newman (guitar, backing vocals), Keith Sylvester (bass, backing vocals) and Danny Tait (drums). The band’s second album is now out on the Vizzable label, the new sub-division of Vizztone and on it they are joined by Jeremy Leber on keys, Tom Crawford on sax on two tracks and “Fast” Eddie Galvin on one. All the material here is original apart from two tracks and is mainly in the blues-rock area. Lana’s strong voice at times recalls Janis Joplin but she has a wider range, as can be seen on a tune like Roquel ‘Billy’ Davis’ 1961 song “Seven Day Fool” which blends some surf guitar with a fast rhumba rhythm to good effect.
The album opens with some stonking sax and rocking piano over a strong riff as Lana tackles Memphis Minnie’s “Hot Stuff”. Joel’s solo takes an oblique line to the main riff and the band add to the chorus enthusiastically to make a great opener. “She Wears Trouble (Like A Crown)” is based round a wah-wah riff and a powerhouse rhythm section which give Lana ample space for her powerful vocals. Title cut “Let It Go” opens with slide guitar, Lana entering in storming style, the rest of the band joining in gradually as the song gathers pace. Bluesy slide is also at the base of “Desire”, Lana adopting a gentler style as she beseechs her lover to “put out my fire, as you’re my desire”. Arguably the strongest song on the album is “How I Love Ya’” with its hard rocking rhythm and rousing chorus: “the day will come when you will see the light, yes you will. You’ve got to pick yourself up, it’s your destiny”. A fine sax solo is the icing on this particular cake.
The aforementioned “Seven Day Fool” is followed by what might be seen as an interval, a short instrumental entitled “Tirer Le Blues” in which Joel shows us his ability on the acoustic with just a little support from the rhythm section – though why the title is in French is hard to imagine! Next up is the more orthodox blues-rock of “Mama”, organ adding additional support. “It’s All Good” drops the pace as Joel switches back to acoustic slide for a duet with Lana’s powerful voice. The band is joined by Eddie Galvin’s harp for the closing track “The Day After Yesterday” on which the Joplin vocal comparisons are particularly in evidence.
This is an enjoyable CD mainly in blues-rock style so if that is your enthusiasm, you should definitely check this one out.