Slo Leak is the duo of producer/guitarist Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar (James Taylor, Billy Joel, Don Henley, Neil Young) and R&B singer/guitarist Charlie Karp. Though they can sound like a stomping 17-piece ensemble, the band is just Kootch and Karp. They chose their name from an old blues album by unsung piano player Lafayette Leake, and Slo Leak sounds as if they've conjured up the spirits of departed bluesmen and jazzers for a late-night voodoo jam. Slo Leak brings a wealth of musical knowledge and talent to the table, somehow bridging the festive romp of deceased swinger Cab Calloway to the dark comic trudge of Tom Waits.
Working closely with Karp, Kootch filched through his own record collection and selected bits and pieces from his favorite old albums. He combined the samples-a drum beat here, a sax solo there-to form the foundation of Slo Leak's songs. "When the Clock Strikes 12" relies heavily on Karp's vocals and the guitar tracks the two laid down later, but essentially it's an indigenous patchwork of musical odds and ends. And while the technique is not unfamiliar to fans of dub, techno and hip-hop, Slo Leak picks up a load of credibility by knowing where to dig for the gold.
Slo Leak samples music from the likes of Roebuck "Pops" Staples ("Why Am I Treated So Bad") and Jimmy Liggens ("Drunk").
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.