Bass man BJ of Lower Case Blues.
Lower Case Blues’ Paul & Jake.
In 1967 the most famous drugs bust in musical history went down ("set up like a bowling pin"- The Grateful Dead, "Truckin" (1970)) at Keith Richards' estate. As a tribute to/support for The Rolling Stones, The Who immediately (understatement: the single was recorded and released THAT WEEK) covered "The Last Time" and "Under My Thumb" to keep one's mind on the group in their time of trouble (what a botheration, as the Jamaicans said).
This week, the Delaware power trio Lower Case Blues were pillaged plundered and purloined of crucial tools of the trade, specifically a bass, pedalboard, snare and cymbals. As a columnist whose ostensible raison d'être is the local scene, I have done LCB a disservice, not damning them with faint praise but with little praise: I've been waiting for a weekday southern show (south of Rehoboth anyway) to cover. Well, their fourth album has been out over a year and I'm still waiting. So it's high time I found my Own Time (that's the name of the album, see what I did there) to review the record and promote Delmarva's most virtuosic band. That's right, I said it.
Prefatory notes: Own Time's production is rather an underproduction, deliberately dry to match singer/bassist BJ's dry, wry, tongue-in-cheek vocal delivery. This band's musicianship is such that overproduction would be eighties excess overkill. As is their wont, LCB lets the music do the talking, as Joe Perry said in 1980. Here's the track by track of said music on this the latest.
• "I Ain't Going Nowhere": shuffle with a groovy staccato riff
• "Do It On Your Own Time": Lowercase Funk. Title track hips one to the Meters/PFunk influence and gives the drummer some with a funky beats break: Paul is a double threat on the bass, by the way. No threat to the like of Mr. Muntz, the frontman, but he can hold it down. Speaking of the singer, here you hear his exaggerated wahwah whigne.
• "No Good Reason": Hendrixian intro into Blues' best so far. Not on the disc - in their forty or so song catalogue. A slow burning masterpiece of underproduced under statement.
• "Let Me Be Your Man": as in "I know you got another man but I can love you better than him".
• "You Cant Take It With You": standard twelve bar blues.
• "Blue Robot": seven minute instro - their best yet - based around Jake's brittle (not brutal) riff and a tricky time signature turn. Solos for bass/guitar/drums respectively.
• "Whiskey In The Dark": duet with Jake (!), torchlit cocktail jazz blues.
• "Find My Way Back Home": just an excuse for what is just another hohum average face melting guitar solo, influenced, it should be interjected at this juncture, by Buddy Guy and the kings: BB, Albert, Freddy.
• "Keep Holding On": midtempo pie filler with blues base.
• "Backporch Blues": anticlimactic snare based closer.
LCB's work ethic compares favorably with any working band's. They play EVERY DAMN DAY - seasonally anyway. They are ubiquitous, at least in Rehoboth, where they've held residencies for years Sundays at five at Big Chill Surf Cantina and at ten at The Pond; Tuesday afternoons at Hammerheads; and Thursdays at 7:30 at Delaware Distilling Company.
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