Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not the Last Time To See Microwave Dave

I have been familiar with the name Microwave Dave & the Nukes, nut do not recall hearing his prior recordings. He has a new self-issued one entitled Last Time I Saw You, that has him in a power trio with Rick Godfrey on bass and harmonica and James Irvin on drums. Dave Gallaher was born in Chicago, raised in Texas, served in Vietnam, attended Berklee in Boston and moved to Alabama where he was mentored by Johnny Shines. He founded the Nukes in 1989 after touring with jerry McCain for three years as well as backing Bo Diddley.

The music here is simple hard-driving blues and rock’n’roll, delivered simply and directly. His gritty, gravelly singing may evoke Omar Dykes but does not distract from his oft witty lyrics. Drinkin’ Wine Since Nine is a simple bluesy rocker as he sings about feeling fine drinking wine with some simple, insistent guitar and driving drums. Jesus Was Smart, has Dave describes some of the complaints about himself (horny and hairy) as he notes Jesus was smart not to marry, with a nicely done rocking guitar solo. The hard rock flavor of I’ve Got a Bet With Myself (recalling the 70’s Rolling Stones) contrasts with the wistful The Worst Thing, about someone who is the worst thing to happen to the blues. His precise guitar playing and low-key vocal enhances the mood of this performance.

Tire Man is a very amusing, mid-tempo number played with restrain with some amusing metaphors about the rubber and the road. Here, Dave sings about being like his daddy, being a tire man and “that must be why I am tired of you,” while Dave gets revved up when his woman spins her pretty wheel but then she makes him shimmy when he puts on the brakes and squeals. Billy C. Farlow’s Alabama Saturday Night is a Bo Diddley rooted celebration of Alabama Women and dancing with some raw harp from Godfrey. More Bo Diddley flavor can be heard in the guitar on the title track with him singing lyrics about leaving his woman as Irvin’s slightly behind the beat drumming pushes the groove. All Nite Boogie is rollicking and relentless as he sings about having the all night boogie with no place to stay.

Goin’ Downtown is a one-chord rocker about going downtown to strut one’s stuff played with an forceful beat that suggests Hill Country Blues while “Cadillac Ride” with him playing a resophonic guitar (and a real nice solo) has Irvin using brushes, as the melody conjures up the country trucker’s song Six Days on the Road. Dick Dale meets Tex-Mex on the spirited Vagabundos as Dave sings in Spanish against the driving playing. The closing Rafferty is an instrumental that makes use of tone and dynamics to set a mood and evokes to an extent the Allman Brothers.

This is a fun recording. One would be hard-pressed to call the music on Last Time I Saw You profound. It is however full of wit and employs a wide musical pallet for some very appealing performances that bridge the blues and rock realms quite nicely. It is a recording I will be returning to listen to. It is available from

A publicist provided me with the review copy. Here he is in performance.

No comments: