Rob Picazo – Spanish Moss | Album Review

Rob Picazo – Spanish Moss

Good Man Records

CD: 12 Songs, 43:21 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Horn Blues, Debut Album, All Original Songs

Close your eyes for a minute, blues fans, as your ears sink deep into Rob Picazo’s debut album Spanish Moss. You’d swear he’s a dead ringer for Randy Newman, but he’s actually from southeast England. The title hails from a line in his closing number, “Savannah” (reviewed below). He mentions “Spanish moss and Spanish people,” and there’s a second connection in his personal letter to this magazine. “I’m not signed to a label,” Rob says, “but am currently distributing locally in London and the Southeast, and plan to roll out distribution further afield, both in the UK and Spain, where I have a small but growing fan base.”

His upbeat, mid-tempo brand of blues is as vibrant as the colors on the cover of the CD. The horns are red-hot; the guitar riffs are orange as flame, and his slow songs are oh-so-blue. Picazo has included a lyrics booklet for those who have a bit of trouble understanding them, but most of all, he’s included his soul. One can tell he feels the blues through and through, though some may claim Spanish Moss is too jazz-based. For a debut album, this is top-notch because Rob and company know quality is key. Featuring twelve original songs, most of which are great for dancing, it’s sure to be a hit.

According to his promotional materials, “Rob Picazo is a rhythm and blues singer and guitarist, born in Madrid to a Spanish father and English mother…After a few years of musical soul-searching, he found…soul. British musicians like Peter Green and Steve Winwood first brought the blues to Rob’s attention, before R&B musicians and soul pioneers like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke, and Ernie K-Doe…convinced him this was the path to take…Following a two-month trip through the southern states of the US, filming a documentary about roots music, Rob has spent the last three years making a name for himself in the British blues scene.”

Along with lead vocalist and guitarist Picazo are Harry Whitty on piano, organ and trombone; Jacob Robinson on bass; Sally Whitty on trumpet; Joe Stick on alto and tenor saxophone; and Finlay O’Hara on drums and percussion.

The following three songs should get national airplay not only in the UK, but the US as well.

Track 01: “Filthy Rich, Dirt Poor” – A message of hope for the cash-strapped and the credit-maxed, the album’s opener reminds them that the Almighty Dollar isn’t so omnipotent after all: “Well, I ain’t too upset about the money I ain’t made. I’ll keep a smile on my face as long as my bills are paid. Can’t have less and don’t need more than filthy rich or dirt poor.” Sally Witty’s trumpet solo is a total blast here (rimshot), as is the rhumba/salsa beat.

Track 04: “I Need a Woman (Who Doesn’t Need a Man) – So slow, so sweet, and so sultry is number four, an ode to females who find fulfillment within themselves more than without. “I need a girl with her own hopes and dreams. I need a woman in who I can believe.” The vocals and instrumentation are as crisp as crackers, and the tempo? Grab a slow-dance partner, people.

Track 12: “Savannah” – The party-hit highlight of this album is its rocking closer. With a traditional blues rhythm and shredder licks to die for, “Savannah” will lift anyone’s spirits. So will Joe Stick on sizzling saxophone.

Let your hair down like Spanish Moss and revel in Rob Picazo’s art!

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