Peter Veteska & Blues Train – So Far So Good
Blue Heart Records – 2022
12 tracks; 54 minutes
This is the band’s sixth album release since 2014, though this time it is credited to Peter Veteska, rather than the short form ‘Peter V’. The band again recorded in New Jersey with engineer and co-producer Joseph DeMaio and the band remains unchanged from previous releases: Peter on guitar and vocals, Coo Moe Jhee on bass and Alex D’Agnese on drums, though Jeff Levine’s keys add to the basic trio on most of the album. Several guests also appear: guitarists Roger Girke and Paul Boddy appear on one cut each, bassist Rick Prince on three; harp players appear on eight tracks, Mikey Junior on six, Gary Neuwirth and Derek ‘Slim’ Matterson on one each. Horns are added to one track (Tommy LaBella and Doug DeHays on sax, Steve Jankowski on trumpet). Jenny Barnes shares the vocals with Peter on two tracks and
Kimberley White, John Fernandez and Chuck Lambert help out on vocals on two other songs. The material was written by Peter, with lyrical help on six tracks from Patti Marz who gets fulsome praise in the credits for her help with the lyrics, photos and support throughout. In addition to the originals there are four covers.
“Done With Bad Luck” opens with thunderous drums, swirling keyboards and a chunky guitar riff as Peter seems determined to make positive strides, whatever curve balls are thrown at him; Gary Neuwirth adds some strong harp support to this rocking opener. The pace drops for a piano-led slow number, appropriately entitled “I’ve Got The Blues This Morning” showcasing Peter’s rough-hewn vocals. The first cover is “I Miss You So”, written by Morgan Babb and originally sung by Lillian Offitt in 1957, but perhaps most familiar from Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton’s cover on Plays Blues, Ballads And Favorites; Peter shares the vocals with Jenny, both doing a good job. Mikey Junior’s harp features strongly on the next two tracks: “My One And Only Muse” is a shuffle while “Young Bold Women” is a late career James Cotton tune, co-written with Tom Hambridge and given a rhumba groove by the rhythm section, Chuck Lambert sharing the vocals with Peter.
“Lovin’ Oven” has a swinging sound from the organ, some well-crafted double entendre lyrics and nice guitar and harp work, before a cover of the Guitar Slim tune “You Give Me Nothing But The Blues”, Peter and Jenny taking alternative verses and the horns providing additional firepower. Peter takes his time on the intro before he sings about those “Low Down Dirty Blues”, the song matching its title well!
The final cover is Johnnie Johnson’s “Baby Please” which appropriately features fine piano work by Jeff, Mikey again excelling on harp. “East Coast Blues” is a strong, upbeat cut with great slide guitar by Paul ‘Slideman’ Boddy while the title track has a more mellow feel with percolating organ underpinning the tune. The album closes with Peter exasperated by people’s inability to behave properly towards each other as he asks why “Can’t We All Get Along”, played to a gentle, lilting tune.
This album seems to be less “rocky” than previous discs by Peter and his band. The four covers take the music into some different places and the closing cut is very different indeed. All credit to Peter and the band for producing a varied album.