SAN PEDRO SLIM
ONE ROOM UTILITIES PAID NO PETS
BARROOM BLUES MUSIC
I AIN’T NEVER CHEATED NOBODY–EVERYTHING’S PAST DUE–THE APARTMENT SONG–TALKIN’ ABOUT MY NEIGHBORS–YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT–SOMEDAY I WON’T CARE–MY BABY’S COMING HOME–WHY IS YOUR WOMAN ALWAYS DRUNK?–A TUNE FOR EARL (ACROSS THE WAY)–’85 CHRYSLER LEBARON–PAY OR QUIT (LETTER FROM THE LANDLORD)–CRYIN’ HARD LUCK
San Pedro Slim is the nom-de-plume of one David Kiefer, vocalist and harpman for this band, which is one of the hottest outfits in that fertile SoCal blues region. His latest set of all originals is entitled “One Room Utilities Paid No Pets,” and the twelve jumpin’ cuts have that underlying theme of living in a one-room apartment and the daily scuffle to stay one step ahead of the landlord!
Joining Slim on this set are more of the best in California blues players. Delta Groove artist Nathan James is on the homemade washtar gitboard, and the Bari-tar guitars. Rick “L. A. Holmes” Holmstrom is also on guitars, Troy Sandow is on the slapback and electric bass, Marty Dodson is on drums, Johnny Viau on saxes, and Taryn Donath is on piano. Together, they conjure up some mighty fine blues that combines that West Coast swing with the vintage sounds of Chess and Vee-Jay.
The set kicks off with the midtempo “I Ain’t Never Cheated Nobody,” as Slim professes to always “Live my life by the Golden Rule,” over stabbing guitar lines and Johnny’s honkin’ sax. Slim goes into Rice Miller mode on the amped-up acoustic “Everything’s Past Due,” recalling those days of Chess. Taryn and Johnny hold the melody together in the loping “My Baby’s Coming Home,” then Slim gives her the boot in “Someday I Won’t Care,’ built over a killer riff.
Favorites? Hells yeah, and they all deal with the ups and downs of apartment living. “Pay Or Quit” finds Slim telling a down-and-out tenant to “pitch yo’self a tent!” The slow-blues of the set-closing “Cryin’ Hard Luck” has Slim speaking out a “little girl who’s never known hard times.” This one features extended solos throughout. “The Apartment Song” follows a funky backbeat and explains the woes of living in an apartment with “walls so thin I can hear my neighbor change his mind!” And, “Talkin’ About My Neighbors” bemoans the fact that they never “start hootin’ and hollerin ’til my head hits the pillow of my bed!”
“One Room Utilities Paid No Pets” is one of those albums that you wish could be about another hour longer. Fellow Californians The Mighty Mojo Prophets praise San Pedro Slim as a player “who may have never been down south, but he sho’ nuff knows what these blues is all about! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.