Take four Midwestern musicians, weld 'em to their instruments, lock 'em in a bar for 10 years and feed them whiskey and beer, and you might get something akin to "This Is It!"
Then again, probably not. This is some great, original blues that would be pretty hard to duplicate under any circumstances, much less pull off with the aplomb, humor and down-to-earth style this group has mastered.
From the diesel-throated vocals of Tom "Trashmouth" Baker to theshuffling snare stickwork of drummer Tim "Buzz" Osburn, this album stands out as blue-collar blues that's as fun to listen to as it is easy to relate to.
The Kansas City-based band got its start in 1987, and at the time this album was recorded (1998) had four members: Baker; David Creighton on the Hammond B-3 and piano; Karl Angerer on guitars, and Osburn. (The group is now a five-piece, sans Creighton but with the addition of Mike Sedovic on guitar and Ralph Ybarra on bass.)
Apart from an updated version of the 1967 classic "Buzz Me," "This IsIt!" is all original - and all good - music from the band.
The Blues Notions' sound is heavy on Kansas-city swing, with a smattering of jump, Chicago, and a little R&B thrown in on the side. The band's strength lies in its ability to craft fresh and innovative tunes. Instead of your standard "mean-mistreatin'" music, the band takes a contemporary approach with tracks about such things as divorce ("Divvy Up"); a husband's cheating ways that earn him a good dose of comeuppance (Where's
Your Wife?"); and a rather humorous look atgood times gone bad ("When U Die U Dead").
The only problem I have with "This Is It!" lies in the band's ability to stay synchronized. It's a minor gaff, and it shows up on only a few tracks ("Choice of Poisons" and the title track stick out) but it's noticeable. Perhaps in the three years since this album has been released they've solved the problem.
But the positives far outweigh the negative. This is a decent, dynamic effort from a band that has fun with the music it takes seriously.
Visit the Blues Notions online at www.sound.net/~blues41
This review is copyright © 2001 by Patrick O'Donnell, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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