Out Of Favor Boys | Album Review

Out Of Favor Boys

Self-Release – 2017


14 tracks; 68 minutes

The Out Of Favor Boys come from Michigan where have backed many musicians passing through their area and host a regular jam in Kalamazoo. The band consists of Danny Ouelette and Joel Krauss on guitars, Tony Sproul on sax, Tim Brouhard on bass and Tommy Ufkes on drums. Lead vocals are by either Joel or Tony and everyone contributes backing vocals. The band has previously released two live and two studio albums but this one was recorded at JoyRide Studio in Chicago with Pete Galanis producing. The CD is entirely original with Danny, Joel and Tony contributing plus a helping hand on two cuts from René Meave who also plays washboard on one track; other guests include Larry McCray and Pete Galanis (guitar, one track each) and Andrea Miologos who adds background vocals  on one track.

The band demonstrates its versatility from the start with the rocking “Best Choice” and its fine guitar and sax solos, followed immediately by “Hemingway”, an early highlight which lyrically explores the life and death of Ernest Hemingway over a naggingly catchy mid-paced tune with some great guitar fills and a superb outro sax solo – as good a song as this reviewer has heard in a while and very well delivered by Tony. We get a touch of sophisticated funk on “Already Gone” as Joel rues the departure of his girl and René’s washboard adds some Louisiana feel to the extended and super-rhythmic “Nobody’s Listening”. Joel’s soulful ballad “You’re The One” slows the pace before Danny’s “Dark Clouds” name checks Jacques Cousteau in a mid-paced tune in which the two guitars mesh well together and Tony plays a ‘cool’ sax solo.

Larry McCray’s biting tone sits on top of wah-wah rhythm work on “Waiting Game” before the band hits a late night jazzy mood on “Same Old Story”, Tommy using brushes and Tony playing some breathy sax. Two mid-paced, melodic tunes follow: “Remember What I Said” has a relaxed Rn’B feel and “Act Like Strangers” adds some fine sax work to a post-break-up song. “The Sooner The Better” is a full-on rocker with ringing guitars and “Minute” is another winner with intriguing lyrics about seeing the world through the eyes of a child: “How much time is a minute? Is it long or is it short? Do I have some in my toybox, can I borrow some of yours? What do they look like, can we buy them at the store? You say there’s never enough – how do we get more?” All good questions and played out over some fine guitar work, again in relaxed style, Tom adding sax to the later part of the tune. The last two songs both feature bars and booze in the lyrics: “One More Drink” is a chugging rocker as Tony wants “one more drink, one more song before I go” and the album closes with a shuffle with everyone joining in on the chorus, Tony’s sax filling in between verses and a cool guitar solo with jazzy overtones as Joel declares that he will drink as many as he wishes “When You’re Gone”.
This was the first I had heard from The Out Of Favor Boys but from this disc we can safely assume that the name is tongue-in-cheek as there is plenty of excellent music to enjoy on this one, making it well worth seeking out if you enjoy melodic original material with some interesting lyrics.

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