One Dime Band – Hoodoo & Holy Water
Toneblanket Records – 2019
11 tracks; 56 minutes
Friends and bandmates since their schooldays, Paul Gallucci and John Brauchler have played in bands and as an acoustic duo act for many years. Based in the Boston area, the pair established their latest musical incarnation, The One Dime Band, in 2017 and this is their second album release. Paul is the lead vocalist and plays harp, along with some rhythm guitar and percussion while John is the lead guitarist and also plays banjo and resonator. Assisting the main duo are bassists Paul Konchanski and John Grube and drummers Chris Anzalone and Jay Gillies; Alizon Lissance adds keys and accordion to five tracks, David Gordon Jr organ to one, Jackie Damsky violin to one and Donna Tritico vocals to one. John ‘Blue Horn’ Moriconi (trumpet) and Mario Perrett (tenor sax) add horns to three tracks. All the material was written by Paul and John, apart from one track on which author Tim Curry plays acoustic guitar and adds vocals.
The title track rocks along nicely with piano and guitar setting the rhythm, the horns pushing things along and a catchy chorus, a solid start to the album. “Something Good” is perhaps the standout cut here, the churchy organ at the start giving way to a soulful tune with Paul asking everyone to “do something good every day”, the solo spots going to the two horn players who take full advantage. The extended “Facing Yourself” takes its time to deliver an introspective set of lyrics about time wasted and opportunities missed over a gentle tune with a delicately plucked guitar solo. Tim Curry plays acoustic on his song “Hard Luck Daddy”, allowing John to bring his banjo and resonator skills into play, Paul’s harp work also adding to an increase in the blues content; indeed, the semi-acoustic tracks are generally closer to blues than the larger band, electric cuts, as can be heard on “Nobody’s Dog” where piano is featured behind Paul’s vocal and harp. “Call It Home” is a gentle love song which opens with the ‘scratchy’ sounds of old 78’s and has a slightly country feel with accordion playing subtly in the background.
The horns return for “Witch Child” which brings John’s electric guitar to the fore on a gently funky number on which Paul sings of what sounds like a dangerous woman! Childhood memories are recalled on the stripped back “Mama’s Chair”, with upright bass and minimal percussion, violin and gentle guitar chords before the intriguingly titled “Weak Back Man” brings us back to the blues with Paul using a gruffer vocal tone as John switches to his resonator and the rhythm section again keeps to a minimal approach. “Salaryman” brings a catchy Caribbean lilt to the album with John’s wah-wah rhythm work and the album closes with another gentle, country-tinged, acoustic tune “Little Time” with harmonies created by Paul and the two John’s.
The One Dime Band shows that it is not constrained by categories, combining elements of blues, country, soul and reggae. This makes for a pleasant and varied listen with no excessive show-boating from any of the players involved.