Blue Lunch review…February 24, 2014…

BLUE LUNCH

BLUE LUNCH SPECIAL

30TH ANNIVERSARY

RIP CAT RECORDS  RIC  1114

SIDESWIPED–COLD DAY DOWN BELOW–SKIN BONES AND HAIR–CUTTIN OUT–THE FIDGET–IC BOOGIE–WHICH WAY TO GO–LEO THE LOUSE-BEST I CAN–SIXTY MINUTE MAN–LITTLE BOY BLUE–TENOR MADNESS–THE LONELY ONE–CLEVELAND OHIO BLUES–MONKEY HIPS AND RICE–MOTHER-IN-LAW

If you try to classify Cleveland, Ohio’s Blue Lunch as strictly a blues band, you would not only be missing part of the band’s heritage, but you’d also be missing out on a helluva lot of fun, too!  Blue Lunch has been together since 1984, and, to celebrate this milestone, they have compiled sixteen cuts that span their entire career, and it serves as their debut for Rip Cat Records.  It is entitled “Blue Lunch Special,” and is an excellent overview of this outfit’s six previous albums.

This eight-piece group includes three horns, and is “led,” if you will, by guitarist/vocalist Bob Frank, who handles most of the writing duties.  Also on vocals are harpman Pete London, and bassist Raymond DeForest, giving this crew a very well-rounded sound.

The set kicks off with a riffin’ instrumental, “Sideswiped,” (also the title of their 2011 album), which sounds like a long-lost gem from the Mar-Keys.  There are excellent examples of Fifties’-inspired jump-blues that showcases everyone’s talents on cuts such as “Skin, Bones, and Hair,” and “Leo The Louse,” and instrumentals guaranteed to fill a dance floor, including “Tenor Madness,” and the harp-tinged “The Fidget.”

The guys are also well-versed in doo-wop from the early days of rock and roll and R & B, too.  Check ’em out in a positively shagalicious take on Billy Ward and the Dominoes’ “Sixty Minute Man,” and on the set-closing “Mother-In Law.”

We had some favorites, too.  One of Bob’s original tales follows a rhumba-fied, Big Easy groove, and is titled “Cold Day Down Below,” with fine piano from Mike Sands.  A man “leavin’ Chicago” and “headin’ back down South where the women treat you better” is the theme of the rail-ridin’ “IC (Illinois Central) Boogie,” which absolutely rocks from start to finish! And, Blue Lunch does play traditional blues, and they give a very authentic read of Robert Jr. Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue,” easily the most straight-up blues cut on the set, and a damn fine one at that!

Blue Lunch is currently touring the Midwest, backing the likes of Candye Kane, Laura Chavez, and Long Tall Deb.  Give a listen to “Blue Lunch Special—30th Anniversary” for one swingin’ good time!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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