Dirty Cat Records
This is the third recording by the San Francisco band fronted by singers Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz (who also plays harmonica), backed by the core and of Ian Lamson on guitars, Chris Burns on keyboards, Endre Tarczy on bass and Robi Bean on drums. Kid Andersen, who produced this at his Greaseland Studios with Lemons and Berkowitz, adds his guitar to several tracks while other guests include guitarist Laura Chavez, saxophonist Nancy Wright, and violinist Annie Staninec. All the songs are originals by the two, mostly in conjunction with one-time Charles Brown guitarist Danny Caron.
Blues and classic soul are infused in these eleven rocking originals which display the strong vocals and ensemble playing of the prior recordings. There is plenty of solid, danceable grooves and plenty of treats in the backing whether the vocal duet on the opening "It's Never Too Early," with sound effects and solid harmonica. Laura Chavez adds her shattering guitar break behind Lemons' vocal on "Take the Long Road." There is a nifty lyric along with deep riffing horns on "Alligator Baptism" with a fine Berkowitz vocal against an insistent groove, a striking Kid Andersen solo, more solid harmonica. It is a performance that oddly suggests Sheryl Crow to this listener, perhaps because of the casualness that the vocal is delivered.
Lemons' "The River" has a swampy feel behind a pleading vocal with Lamson on slide guitar. "Supernatural Blues" has hints of Sonny Landreth's "Congo Square," and is an original twisting rocker with more shattering Chavez guitar and a nice harmonica solo, "Make a Right Turn" has a country-cajun feel with Staninec's violin standing out along with the strong singing here with Lemon being particularly robust.
The other songs all have their own charms and hooks with "Last Ride" standing out with Andersen's carefully employed sound effects adding to the atmosphere behind Lemons' vocal while "Love is Blind" has a swampy blues feel with Andersen adding a taut solo followed by Berkowitz's crying harp. "Blind Spot" is another fine recording from The Lucky Losers with fresh material, wonderful playing and first-rate vocals.
I received my review copy from a publicist. Here are the Lucky Losers in performance.