Richard Cagle is the President of Montrose Records and has recorded many luminaries of the blues and rock world at his Houston Studio. Johnny Winter, Brad Absher, Swamp Royale, Annika Chambers and Carolyn Wonderland are a few of the noted artists he has produced. With a new, second studio in New Mexico’s mountains, he is seriously into his production work.
Here we have Cagle fronting his band with 13 new and original tracks written by him in conjunction with band members and friends. Leaning heavily towards the rock side of things, Cagle sings with a vibrant style that is filled with grit and emotion and even with some falsetto in the vein of Robert Plant. Lee Martin is his guitar player, Calvin Hall is on bass, Frank Salas and Kelley Wright are on drums, and Randy Wall is on keys. Pablo Burnett, Miranda Aston and Mike Morris also appear backing the band vocally on “All Night Long With You.”
The CD begins with a heavy rocker “Treat Your Daddy Right.” Cagle growls and Martin plays some mean guitar here. They switch to a softer blues rock ballad next with “Love Ya Need Ya,” a big contrast to the opener. Cagle builds the lyrics and Martin again offers a big solo for us to savor. “Slow Blues” is very Led Zeppellin-esque with Martin and Cagle playing the Page and Plant roles with the slow, bluesy, stratospheric, fuzzy and distorted guitar and vocal style that they invented. It works for me since they did not overdo it and fill the album with Led Zeppelin-styled work. “Messing With The Blues” is next, a mid-tempo blues rocker that takes off with the vocals and then the guitar. Cagle sings with grit and Martin lays it all out for us. Next is “Crying The Blues,” a slow and emotive blues cut with a little more organ evident to set the tone and some tastefully done slow blues on the guitar.
“Thunder Lightning” brings things back up in the rocking style these guys these guys are comfy with. Cagle’s vocals are thunderously gritty and Martin lays out some more lightning on his axe. Next up we have “Rock And Roll Stew.” This is an original, not the Traffic cut of the same name nor in their style. It took me back a bit, perhaps sounding a little like an Aerosmith cut or maybe an even earlier rocking style. It has a little of the Bob Marley “Get Up and Stand Up” riff to the cut here and there but it’s not reggae, just straight ahead rock and roll. “Long Time Since I Felt This Way” is a vibrant rocker with a blazing guitar and Cagle showing some emotion. “The Scream” has no lyrics just some Robert Plant styled oohs and moans and some massive guitar from Martin. Probably my least favorite cut on the album. I get what they were trying to do, but it’s not really original.
“All Night Long With You” begins with studio made crowd noise and breaks into a a big, rocking Brownsville Station sort of sound (“immediately Smokin’ In The Boysroom came to mind”) and the band gets into it. “Small Time Blues” continue the rocking sound with Cagle testifying and Martin stinging on his guitar. “Bring Me Some Water” continues the trifecta of heavy duty rocking and rolling, high energy music. The album concludes to “Singing The Blues,” where Cagle slows way down to a a soft blues ballad. The brushes come out on the drums a bit, the tempo drops and the boys give us a tasty and thoughtful ending to a mostly driving CD.
OK, so most of this is big time rock. It’s well done, Cagle demonstrates that he can sing and Martin plays with abandon. There is a little blues here and there, but it’s mostly a well done rock album. It’s not much blues but if you want to hear a Texas take on originals with an Aerosmith sort of flavor to the mix, go for it. The band is tight, they play and sing in an outstanding manner and the production is crisp.