Tas Cru – You Keep The Money | Album Review

tascrucdTas Cru – You Keep The Money

Crustee Tees Records


12 tracks/56 minutes

Keeping The Blues Alive Award winning music educator Tas Cru’s sixth album is all original music andis  a study in styles and forms.  Whether he is soulfully singing and playing a ballad or rocking out in a grand manner, the music is always something to savor and enjoy.  On this CD we have Tas on guitars and vocals, Mary Ann Casale on backing vocals and dulcimer, Alice “Honeybea: Ericksen on backing vocals, Dave Olson and Bob Holz sharing duty on drums, Dick Earl Ericksen on harp, Ron Keck on percussion, Chip Lamson on piano, Guy Mirelli on organ, and Bob Purdy on bass.

The album opens to the title track. Inspired by Delta legend T-Model Ford, Cru gives us sage advice in musical money matters. It is a funky little shuffle that bounces and  moves along in a cool progression.  The harp work is greasy and mean and Ericksen earns his money blowing his part. Trading licks with Cru, the two are very tight.  The organ fills in well and the vocals by Tas and his backers are quite good.

A ballad follows, “A Month of Sundays.”  Cru begins with a soulful guitar solo.  He growls out the vocals, complaining about the woman who has ignored and blown him off for a long, long time.  The organ hangs around behind the scenes as an ever-present spirit and Tas’ guitar work is impeccable. “Half The Time” is a love song of sorts as Tas sings that his love’s kisses move him to insobriety half the time. Sweet guitar and harp solos; the song builds to a nice, big conclusion.  What Tas calls a “gorgeous instrumental” follows.  It’s called “La Belle Poutine” and he’s correct.

“Heart Trouble” is somewhat comical and is about maintaining one’s health for their new love.  Funky and fun!  Tas goes gospel with “A Little More Time.”  It is a thoughtful homage to the elder bluesmen and women who have done their time making great music for us.  He doesn’t take us full out to church  but thoughtfully “prays” and laments.  “One Bad Habit” is a shuffle and it’s very cool.  Singing about his “lone” fault is humorous and fun; more great harp work by Ericksen and great vocals by Cru and his backing duet.  “Take Me Back to Tulsa” starts out slow but works into a rocker.  Cru tells of his travels back to Tulsa and gives us a taste of his encounters along the way.  Piano and guitar lead the trek and the harp gives us some spice.

“Count On Me” is pure blues shuffle and is soulfully rendered ever so sweetly for us.  Guitar and piano lead the offering, and the organ play punctuates things quite well.  Another neat ballad follows, “Holding On To You.”  Country and blues blend thoughtfully and seamlessly here.  “Bringing Out The Beast” is a deep groove where Cru tells us he’s a hound dog and then likens his desires to a Tom Cat.  Sexy and sultry innuendoes flow throughout; it’s a great cut.

Cru wraps up with hill country blues in “Thinking How To Tell Me Goodbye.”  The harp, guitar and vocals intertwine and meld together in this unrequited love song.  Lots of layers of guitar fold over each other as the harp and vocals deliver the message.  Another really good cut!

This is a really good CD from top to bottom.  Each song gives us something to savor and latch on to.  Cru delivers a fine dozen new songs and his renditions are all spot on.  I enjoyed this CD and think that blues fans everywhere will, too!

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