The Gutbuckets – Gas Fire Rag | Album Review

The Gutbuckets – Gas Fire Rag


Toscana 100 band Productions

12 songs – 37 minutes long

This is the second release from this multi talented and multi instrumental duo from Italy, The Gutbuckets. It follows on from their crowdfunded debut Kick Out The Lomax in 2014. The Gutbuckets are Mario Evangelista and Antonio Speciale. Their musical influences are varied with blues as the root but they add old style Ragtime music, Dixieland and even Appalachian Folk to their vast repertoire. Short on length but full on style and delivery this is a very uplifting and enjoyable release that will definitely put a smile on the listener’s face. They have enthusiasm in abundance and watching their online videos there is not a lot of difference between the studio production and live takes.

Mario shares vocals throughout and he mimics a drawlin’ down South accent on a lot of thetunes. He plays mandolin , acoustic guitar , resophonic guitar , kazoo and spoons. Antonio plays acoustic guitar,stompbox,banjo and kazoo. There are influences of Mississippi john Hurt and Robert Johnson in his vocals and guitar playing.

“Bring Back The Bush” sets the tone, with a song written by the band encompassing quirky lyrics and duelling mandolin and banjo. “Sadie Green” has that lazy New Orleans take on an old Memphis Jug Band song with fine trumpet accompaniment by Valerio Mazzoni. Another cover of Charlie Poole’s “It’s Moving Day” has some fine vintage banjo picking on it and plenty hollering. There is again a traditional take to “Weed Smoker’s Dream” with jazzy down and dirty tones.

The title track “Gasfire Rag” is a lilting smooth instrumental with an Italian narrative and a focus on kazoos and guitar work, a musical interlude perhaps a stop for breath, such is the pace of this release. “Sister Kate” is an uptempo cover written in 1919 by jazz pianist Clarence Williams and was also popular with Louis Armstrong. This is an excellent track to dance to, full of twists and shakes.

The original “Walkin’ In The Kitchen” is a ragtime romp with a resonating chorus. “Hipster Gal”, written by a band associate J.B. Tripoli, is a slide driven laid back ballad. The mandolin strings introduce “Rose Connolly” another hollering folk tale capturing the feel of an Irish traditional folk tale but has roots in the Appalachian style. This is actually an old murder ballad about a man facing the gallows for killing his lover by poisoning her wine and then throwing her into a river. The delivery of this tune is cunningly disguised in the arrangement. “You May Leave” is another traditional tune of sweet notes and shows the craftsmanship of fine tight duo. The last two tracks are originals and best on the release  “My Sweet Mary”a slow acoustic ballad with fine harmonies. “That’s Our Blues”  the longest track, finishes on a sleazy laid back note leaving the listener wanting more.

This is a well crafted release full of short bursts of very witty prose and eclectic mix of traditional songs from two front men who really know their subject matter. A release full of emotion and toe tapping tunes, a real joy to behold that keeps up with tradition.

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