Dicey, Claustrophobic, Turbulent and Oh So Sexy So-Cal R&B.
I have a love/hate relationship with e-mails that begin “you reviewed my friend/label mates album, so I think you will like mine.”
Obviously I will be the sole judge of what music I like……..but, don’t tell anyone , I can never resist having a wee listen!
So after falling in love with the Kid Ramos album on the fabulously monikered Rip Cat Records (hope they do t-shirts) it’s the turn of stable-mates Orphan Jon & The Abandoned, who revolve around singer Jon English and geetar player extraordinaire Bruce Krupnik; with a well deserved nod to Tony Jack Grigsby and Stan Whiting on bass and drums, without whom the sound they create would not be anywhere near as ‘full’..
#Spoiler Alert…….While they could comfortably share a stage one evening, both bands are sufficiently different for me to be in love with both at the same time…….making me a bit of an R&B Tart!
Every instrument on opening track Backbone not just swings, but growls too and when Jon English sings; those notes know they’ve been hit.
Dear Lord, the next song Blood Moon is sexy, gutsy and almost demonic in equal measures as Jon brings the words up from the pits of his stomach while Bruce Krupnik uses his guitar like a shiny flick-knife in a bar fight, making it perfect for a TV show like Bosch or CSI Miami.
For a Southern R&B band Orphan Jon & The Abandoned manage to make the love songs Drive Me Crazy and Love Light sound dangerously claustrophobic and turbulent in equal measures; which is the best kind of love to find; isn’t it?
Don’t expect no ‘moon in June’ couplets here; these guys have lived a life on the dark edges of Lonely Town and describe women that you and I can only dream of in Medusa and the funklicious Sowin’ Seeds; which will have just as many women punching the air too as they dance along to the ferocious beat when played live in a seedy nightclub somewhere your Mother warned you against going to.
Like all good Blues bands OJATA are at their best when they take things low down and dirty; and that’s so very true here with Dance For Me Girl which is so very wrong on many levels……but oh so right too; and more especially Leave My Blues Alone which finds Jon English using his amazing vocals to create a spine-tingly Soulful Blues Ballad and therefore the RMHQ Favourite Song.
A close contender for that prestigious title is the final track Memories of Me and You; but as an acoustic track with some searing bottle neck; it doesn’t sound like anything else here; but shows what a great songwriter English is and how dextrous he and his band are.
My work colleagues do love a car show on the canteen TV and by sheer coincidence I watched one the day before receiving this album about a guy restoring a 55 Chevy Bel Air and the finished article was sprayed the most voluminous yellow you’ve ever seen……it was beautiful; and that is exactly the car you need to be cruising in on a sunny California Highway to get the best from ABANDONED NO MORE, especially if your hair is slicked back and you’re wearing a silk bowling shirt and a pair of RayBan tortoiseshell Clubmasters……or at least pretend you are when you’re in the Hyundai driving to work in the rain.
PS The cover artwork would certainly have grabbed my attention in a record shop; and the accompanying booklet is very nearly worth the entrance fee alone.