PAUL MARK AND THE VAN DORENS
SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM
RADIATION RECORDS RDTN 5029
SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM–TIME WILL TELL–WHEN GOD FINDS THE TIME–ONE MORE COAT OF PAINT–BARRIO STROLL–U MUST COME 2–WRIST ROCKET–CAN’T REMEMBER NOTHING–DON’T YA TELL HENRY–CHOKE HOLD–40 FT. OF ROPE–THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US
Paul Mark and the Van Dorens have just released their ninth CD for Radiation Records, entitled “Smartest Man In The Room.” It is more of what we have come to expect from this purveyor of bombastic, over-the-top, industrial, blues-rock that stands out among today’s cookie-cutter, reality-show wannabes.
Yes, this is not your typical , three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust blues. Paul Mark is on guitar and vocals throughout, and the set was recorded in Memphis and New Orleans, and, if you listen closely, you’ll hear the influences of these cities herein. Check out the leadoff title cut, that tells the tale of a man who “works, but the D A calls it breakin’ the law!” An acoustic guitar kicks off a story of mortgage foreclosures and love gone bad in today’s economy, “One More Coat Of Paint.” A barrelhouse piano and more acoustic guitar over Paul’s vocal casts a film-noir-ish feel to the story of a man who “Can’t Remember Nothin,” but is “gettin’ wiser every day.” The set-closer uses police sirens, 911 calls, and newscast snippets to create the chaos that ensues when “The Creature Walks Among Us.”
There are several cool instrumentals in this set, too. “Barrio Stroll” has a Latin feel, while “Choke Hold” is a nod to the days of Lonnie Mack and the great Fifties instrumentals.
We had two favorites, too. “Time Will Tell” evokes the Texas roadhouse boogie of Stevie Ray Vaughn, while a Doomsday percussion pattern drives the apocalyptic “When God Finds The Time,” where “He’ll see you when He sees you!”
An album by Paul Mark is more than a CD release–it’s more like a musical event. He’s always full of surprises, each one seemingly outdoing the last. Strap in and get ready for a blues roller-coaster ride from “The Smartest Man In The Room!” Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.