Rhythm Krewe – Unfinished Business
12 songs time – 54:48
This Southern California based band began life in 1990 as Floyd & The Flyboys, a nine piece horn band. It is the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Steve Zelman. The band consists of first rate musicians that among them have performed or recorded with acts as varying as Ray Charles, Santana, Tower Of Power, Lyle Lovett and Brian Setzer, among many others. On this their debut release they incorporate genres ranging from blues, rhythm & blues, jump blues, swing, soul and who knows what else. Although they have a four-piece horn section, they don’t hog all the action, as all the players get to shine. Steve Zelman wrote nine of the songs as well as handling production chores.
Steve Zelman kicks off Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “She Moves Me” with a solid blues guitar intro leading into the horn section punctuating the groove. His smooth voice helps. Tenor sax man Chris Mostert lets loose a riveting solo, and Jim Blazer answers the call with his cool piano solo. Steve adds inventive guitar soloing to ice the cake. Gary Coppola sings over a rhumba beat on “One Hell For Another”, a tale of life’s ups and downs. Jim Blazer’s piano and the ever-present horn section give it a New Orleans R&B tinge.
The horns sit it out for a song of love and devotion in “Little Bit Of Heaven”. Zelman’s swampy guitaring attains a soothing atmosphere over the cushion of Jim Blazer’s electric piano. In “Better Late Than Never” Steve professes his love while lending his smooth guitar to the song. Coppola tells of unrequited love over bluesy guitar and Jim Blazer’s cocktail lounge piano on “Time Of Day”. In James Cotton’s “She’s Murder”, punchy horns contrast with blues guitar to good effect.
Professor Longhair’s “Her Mind Is Gone” is taken at a slightly slower pace than the original. The piano interlude has more of a jazz bent as opposed to that of Fess. Guest vocalist David Morgan voices “Prescription for Disaster”, a shuffle, in a gruffer tone than the other two vocalists. Chris Rhyne contributes organ, although incorrectly listed in liner notes as piano. The salsa infused “Wild Love” benefits from the drumming of Danny Pucillo Jr. and the tasty organ of Jim Blazer.
Gary Coppola handles the vocal on the title song. The horn section is used to full effect here. Chris Rhyne commits a tender piano intro to “Sweet Surrender”, a mellow change of pacer. Steve Zelman and Gary Coppola share the vocals on the swinging and lighthearted “Monkey Toes” that finales with a Bo Diddley beat. Steve includes some infectious slide guitar.
This is a welcome addition. Horn bands that are in short supply. All the instruments are tight throughout under Steve’s and co-producer Robert M. Biles’ expert production values. This is truly an amalgamation of talented musicians, smart choice of cover songs and crafty lyrics. It is a sure fire addition to any music lover’s collection.