Tokyo Tramps – If I Die Tomorrow | Album Review

Tokyo Tramps – If I Die Tomorrow  

Vagabond Entertainment

CD: 13 Songs, 52:09 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Guitar Monster Blues, All Original Songs

Blues fans, what external stimulant wakes you up in the morning? Coffee? Tea? Something a bit stronger? If none of those work on a bleak Monday (or any day, come to think of it), try a dose of the Tokyo Tramps. Their latest album, If I Die Tomorrow, is a high-voltage jolt of monster guitar from lead man Satoru Nakagawa. All thirteen songs on this CD are originals, which is a bonus because it showcases their in-your-face style. With blasting instruments and no-nonsense vocals, the Tokyo Tramps know how to party. They’re a bar and dance club band, an ensemble that eschews classic blues in favor of the high-octane postmodern variety. Purists beware. Those of you who are in the mood to jump in a mosh pit (or imagine you are), this will get you going.

Their corner of the Internet provides revealing background information. Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan), the Tokyo Tramps are a group of American roots and blues fanatics. The musical journey started when Satoru Nakagawa left Japan to go to Louisiana searching for the spirit of rock and roll. Soon he found the key: blues. Yukiko Fujii left a lucrative job in Tokyo and took a giant step following her heart to play American music. Then in 1999, the group was born in Boston. Satoru took the stage name “Tramps” from his early idol, Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Born To Run” – “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run,” Satoru says. “American music changed our lives. Four individuals chanced to meet in Boston, and taking cues from our musical heroes, were creating something very unique and exciting. We are making our dreams come true every time we play.”

The Tokyo Tramps consist of Satoru Nakagawa on lead guitar and lead vocals, Yukiko Fujii on bass, vocals and keyboards, and Tim Carman on drums, vocals and percussion.

The song below is a prime example of the Tramps’ musical journey, and mighty catchy to boot.

Track 07: “Betty’s Kitchen” – Don’t have the time or the inclination to write an autobiography? Try a peppy blues song, as Satoru Nakagawa did. “Let me tell you a story; it goes back to ’93. I was an immigrant with an impossible dream…When I was feeling down, I’d meet my black mama Betty, and she’d say ‘Come on in (come on in my kitchen).’” Here Satoru fell in love with the blues and the female mentor who cherished them. With a funky 1970s-style intro heavy on the funk and the wah-wah pedal, “Betty’s Kitchen” is easily the best song on the album.

Can’t get bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the A.M.? The Tokyo Tramps’ latest will do the trick!

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