The Lucky Losers – A Winning Hand-Album Review | Album Review

theluckyloserscdThe Lucky Losers – A Winning Hand

West Tone Records

12 songs time-58:04

Great googly-moogly where has the glorious and dynamic duo of Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz been all my life? Cathy Lemons’ strong and crystal clear voice and Phil Berkowitz’ rich and mellow pipes blend together like a match made in heaven. These two stalwarts of the San Francisco music scene for many moons have joined forces for a diverse presentation consisting mainly of duets. If that isn’t enough the rest of The Lucky Losers assembled here are right on the money as they prop up the festivities with solid, funky and bluesy musicianship that is tight and appropriate at every turn in the road. Phil also happens to be a world class harmonica player. Everything gels perfectly here right down to the song selection.

Super tight and “fonky” guitar and horns lead in right off the bat as the two singers blend and trade off vocals just as natural as can be on the original “Change In The Weather”. Sam And Dave’s “I Take What I Want” falls right in place with Marvin Greene’s funky guitar and once again the vocal trade-offs fit hand-in-glove. More super fine harp playing adds to the goodness of the energy-charged soul chestnut.

Jimmy Rogers’ “What Have I Done” follows up with a fat and juicy R&B attack this time with the slinky piano of Chris Burns. The Cathy Lemons original title tune is a journey from despair to hope. Blues guitar master Steve Freund works his magic as Cathy’s voice belts it loud and clear as Phil and the backing vocals of Lisa Leuscher-Anderson enhance the wonderful soulfulness of this gem.

Cathy goes it solo on “Suicide By Love”, backed by Chris Burns’ cool jazz piano riffing along with Kid Anderson’s jazzy guitar. What a magnificent chanteuse moment. Phil chimes in once again with a perfectly fitting and tasty harmonica solo. A take on Bob Dylan’s “What Was It You Wanted” is so funky you can smell it. Organ and funky rhythm guitar propel the song.

Next up is one from New Orleans funk-meister par excel lance Allen Toussaint featuring slide guitar from Ben Rice and Nawlins styled piano from Chris Burns on “What Is Success”. A Memphis-style horn section gels with the rhythm section and Marvin Greene’s rootsy guitar “Long Hard Road”, an original that sounds like an instant classic.

“Baby You Got What It Takes” melds R&B and blues effortlessly. “Cry No More” floats along on a smooth and lovely rhythmic groove. The Lemons penned “Detroit City Man” utilizes the classic John Lee Hooker boogie beat that she learned from her time as send-off singer with “The Hook”. Cathy handles the vocals alone on this gritty ditty. She employs spoken word as well much as the master did. Slow R&B meets country on the melancholy “Don’t You Lose It” that glides along with country meets the blues guitar and mellow Wurlitzer piano to take the listener out on a soothing note.

I can’t say enough good things about this CD. Everything fits exactly into place like it was meant to be. Musicianship and production values are of the highest quality. You just can’t miss with this one, your record collection deserves it.

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