Blue Bella Records
CD: 14 songs; 77:01 Minutes
Styles: Modern Electric Blues Rock, Soul, Rock and Roll
One of the most terrifying sounds in the world can be “tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.” Everyone knows “Time Ain’t Free,” especially Windy City native Nick Moss. Having evolved musically past the straight ahead blues of Nick Moss and the Flip Tops to just the Nick Moss Band, he releases his tenth album not wanting to lose one second of Chicago soul, funk, blues, jam band music, and rock-and-roll. Praised by such other magazines as Elmore and UT San Diego, Nick’s not going to let time get in his way of rocketing up the charts. Track number six, “I Want the World to Know,” has even debuted on Billboard.com as a soul single. He and his band are in fabulous form here, including Moss on guitar, bass, and lead vocals, Patrick Seals on drums and percussion, bassist Matthew Williams, Bryan Rogers on keyboards, and Tina J. Crawley and Lara Jenkins on background vocals. A new and explosive addition on this CD is rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Michael Ledbetter, a descendant of the legendary Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter. Twelve out of fourteen songs are either written by Moss or Ledbetter, with the other two by Rod Stewart, Ian McLagan, and Eddie J. House, Jr. These three are addictive originals:
Track 03: “Light It Up” – Michael Ledbetter’s hot-blooded plea is perfect for those who like their blues down-and-dirty, but not gutter-crude: “You a fine, healthy thing, and all I want is a kiss. Don’t you tease me, baby. You know I can’t resist.” With a suggestive beat and high-voltage solo by Nick Moss, this is definitely a selection for late-night radio play. Insidiously, the repeated chorus seduces listeners and gets them dancing (or romancing): “Light me up, turn me on.”
Track 04: “Fare Thee Well” – The very next song details what happens when the fire dies down in a relationship: one of the ‘flames’ might depart for good. With a light 70’s funk and gorgeous harmonic vocals by Tina J. Crawley and Lara Jenkins, it’s a warning for all prospective partners: “If you don’t use it, you know you’re gonna lose it. We both know just how hard I fell. You don’t need – to say ‘fare thee well’.” Once again Ledbetter takes the lead on vocals, with Moss’s electric guitar insistently backing him up. Nick’s guitar here is bittersweet, but nowhere near maudlin.
Track 06: “Been Gone So Long” – Perhaps Moss’ greatest strength is what gives him his title of “groove master,” as evidenced in swinging number six: “I wonder why you left, wonder where you’re gone, wonder where you’ve really been gone so long.” Nick practically dismembers his instrument of choice on the flat-out best rock solo of the album. With a chorus that worms its way into your brain on only one repetition, it’ll be stuck there for at least the next week.
“Time Ain’t Free,” but the Nick Moss Band will never waste that of devoted blues rock fans!