It's October, 1959, the White Sox have just won the pennant, you're feelin'
good 'cause you're out of the cage on a Friday night. You open the steel
door of Loretta's Southside Cocktail Lounge and are greeted by that musky
tavern smell of stale beer. The smoke is so thick you can't see the
cigarette burning in your own hand. But cutting through the dense tobacco
fog is some of the most stinging guitar you've heard, nailing a tasty blues
lick on a song you can't quite identify, but sounds mighty familiar.
That's the first impression I got from "Got a New Plan," the sophomore
offering of Nick Moss & the Flip Tops on Blue Bella Records. This effort
offers 14 solid tracks that make you want to start drinkin' early and
poundin' a few pool balls into some holes. 10 of the 14 songs we're written
by Nick Moss with complimentary tracks by such greats as Muddy Waters and
Freddy King. Track number 4 sums up the flavor of the entire offering in an
instrumental called Arrowmaker Pass brings an almost comical a feel with a
emphasis on back-beat, some strong distorted guitar and a honky tonk piano
in the background.
Leading on vocals and fat tubular lead guitar is Nick Moss. The album
showcases great supporting talent from the Flip Tops by Brother John Kattke
on B3, Greg (Smokey) Campbell on drum, Andy Lester and James DiGerolomo on
bass, Hal Tsushida on piano - great addition, Gareth Best on guitar, Dez
Desormoeaux Orchestra on horns, Bill Lupkin on harp and Lynwood Slim
provides some eery harp on "Katie Ann".
As "First Offense," the first release from the band knocks you off your
chair, "Got a New Plan", shows more maturity, more respect to the Blues and
further refines and defines Nick's sound. "Got a New Plan" provides more
visuals with tracks like "Ain't Got That Time", a Howlin' Wolf tribute
(sounds like Nick's singin' through the harp mike), you can imagine a board
stripper tossin' her pasties to the crowd. "Playing By the Rules", a 1950's
doo-wop song, evokes a vision of the band in sequin jackets and synchronized
dance moves. "Let's Try This Plan Again" and "Katie Ann" are both slow
blues but instinctly different with the former evoking crying and the latter
emphasizing loneliness. "Work You Hips" depicts the quintessential fat mama
on the dance floor, and "For You" (Joe, Nick's Brother helps out on this
one) has a Sam Cook feel with the sound of the Memphis Horns from Dez's
orchestra, this one definitely is "radio-worthy" with it's catchiness. It
also is reminiscent of the Vaughan Bros.' "Tick Tock." "Two Fools with a
Misunderstanding", another slow blues showcases Nick's clean ES335 guitar
sound that you hear through most of the album. A great instrumental "(Kind
of) Ghetto" rounds out the album, a tune borrowed from Hathaway & Hudson.
The only criticism this work bears is the lack of Nick's vocals up front.
His singing style is already understated, so it wouldn't hurt to put them
upfront more. Keep in mind that Clapton never considered himself much of a
vocalist, but his vocals are right there and sound downright great on some
tunes. Also due to the vocals down in the mix it's hard to hear his lyrics,
which is a shame for this gifted Blues songwriter. This album does an
excellent job of showcasing a great band and some top-notch arrangements.
Overall, you get the experience of a gifted guitar player, wonderful
arranger, terrific band and solid songwriting. Nick's dues with Jimmy
Rogers, the Legendary Blues Band and others have paid off with this CD.
Say, I've got a new plan: Take this with you, crank it up, crack a
Budweiser, light a cigarette and grab the pool cue, then you'll be ready for
Nick Moss and the Flip Tops! - Dave Glynn
Blue Bella Records
164 Division, Suite 203
Elgin, IL 60120
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Dave Glynn, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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