Given how well blues and zydeco mix, and how cool the result can sound, it's a shame more bands aren't combining the two. If they were to listen to Glamour Puss I suspect we'd start to see more two-steps tossed in among the shuffles.
Hailing from Canada's East Coast, an area with strong Acadian roots, Glamour Puss approach and embrace music with the same freewheeling acceptance their ancestors brought to the Cajun stew, hence the inclusion of zydeco, soul, even a hint of country; in short, anything that adds spice to the gumbo. All of it's here, and all of it's lively, on "Electric And Alive," the band's third outing. Recorded at Fredericton's Harvest Jazz And Blues Festival, it's a non-stop romp from start to finish, the boys obviously overjoyed at the opportunity to rip it up on the home turf.
Opening with Freddie King's "Hideaway," they lay down an utterly relentless groove, both guitarist Travis Furlong and saxist Don Rogers stepping forth with furious solos. From there it's an almost equal mix of classics and new originals. They rival Elmore himself for intensity on "Blues Before Sunrise," Travis' soloing into the stratosphere; "All She Left Me Was The Blues," from keyboard player Roger Cormier, is a Chicago grinder in the classic mold, and they go straight to Memphis for "Green Onions," Mr. Cormier doing Booker T. proud. The tough urban funk-blues of Luther Allison's "It's A Blues Thing" lead into a wild take on Henry Mancini's classic "Peter Gunn Theme," all three soloists driven to frenzied heights by the pounding rhythms of bassist Paul Boudreau and drummer Ron Dupuis. There's the traditional "Zydeco Boogaloo," the band utterly smoking through the tricky changes, flat-out rock & roll in "I'm Still Smokin'," the bouncy country lope of "Coming Around," a trip to N'Awlins for "You Were Wrong," and a very swinging version of Ike Turner's "Matchbox" as an encore.
With the exception of Mr. Dupuis, everyone takes a crack at vocals, and surprisingly (many bands would kill for one as good!) all are excellent. Performances are unerringly tight throughout - they're obviously well rehearsed - and the guys know how to work a crowd. Sound is exemplary, clean, big, and boomy with a palpably live feel. The stylistic variety, thoughtfully well programmed, and rotating vocalists give the whole (a generous sixty-five minutes) a review format, adding to its party atmosphere. Think of it as a ready-made mix disc.
I 'd hazard a guess that live is by far the best way to catch Glamour Puss; having tasted "Electric And Alive" I'll now do so at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, I'll be dipping into this gumbo often . . . a fine showcase for a fine band!
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