Ah, the vagaries of the music biz . . . were quality the determining criteria, rather than mass marketing to a demographic that, quite frankly, simply doesn't know any better, I've no doubt Long Island's Cadillac Moon would be a household name.
"Blue Moon Rhythm" is the band's third disc; they've been together for over seven years now, and judging by this outing they're definitely an 'A'-list outfit. So why haven't we heard from them before?
Cadillac Moon deliver a punchy, brassy R&B- influenced sound fuelled as much by funk and jazz as the blues; stylistically they're not far removed from fellow northeasterner Toni Lynn Washington, although singer Leslie Zimei takes a lustier, gutsier approach to a lyric. She's a huge presence here, at turns sultry and sassy, sexy and downright scintillating.
Surprisingly, given how prominent they are in the mix, the six-piece outfit doesn't include any horns in the core lineup. Most of the songs were written or co-written by guitarist Mike Nugent, and while they're fine in context, there's no question they'd suffer without the brass. That's not by any means to detract from instrumental contributions by the band proper; performances are uniformly top-notch. But with most tunes fairly straight-ahead grooves, I suspect they'd come across as somewhat anaemic without the oomph they bring to the mix.
Lyrical concerns range from relationships good and bad and the various shades of blue that result, to the inundation of information in "21st Century Blues" and the changes wrought by progress ("Back To The Neighbourhood"). The band's party side is evident on "Mardi Gras In New York"; they may try to bring the party to their home turf, but musically they stay true to the spirit of N'Awlins. Covers include James Brown's "I Feel Good," here, again surprisingly, done as a shuffle rather than the proto-funk workout of the original, and Delbert McClinton's "Why Me."
All in all a fine effort, with excellent sound (given the production, one might easily assume there's a big budget behind it) and an exuberant, swinging sense of fun in every groove. Perhaps the reason Cadillac Moon isn't better known is simply that they need to keep their day jobs, thus limiting touring opportunities. It's a sad truism for many talented musicians these days, with so much competition for the public's entertainment dollar. If "Blue Moon Rhythm" gets any airplay, however, I suspect they may not need those day jobs much longer.
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