GAETANO LETIZIA AND THE UNDERWORLD BLUES BAND
VOODOO DOLL AND OTHER BLUES LESSONS
TOM LETIZIA RECORDS
BIG FOOT–VOODOO DOLL–KILL MY CONSCIENCE–THE DEVIL IS A NICE GUY–SOLD MY SOUL–HURT MYSELF–BLEED–ALL I NEED–BLOW THE BLUES AWAY–TORTURE ME–ORANGE SUNGLASSES–BIG SECRET
Singer, composer, and guitar man extraordinaire Gaetano Letizia, better known as “Tom” to everyone in the music world, is based in the Cleveland, OH, area. His latest release, “Voodoo Doll And Other Blues Lessons,” showcases not only his guitar wizardry as far as the blues is concerned, but also shows his eclecticism and affinity for soul, funk, and heavy shots of jazz. He’s got a strong team behind him, too, including Larry Keller on bass, Steve Renko on drums, Jake Tijerina on keys, and Bobby Huszar and Ro Brown on vocals.
As a young man, Tom mentored directly with both Pat Martino and George Benson, which gave him a broader scope in his playing and writing, and this set bears that out. Things start off with a funky instrumental, “Big Foot,” which allows everyone to limber up for the festivities to follow. The title cut is a minor-key shot of funky soul, and teaches one of those “Blues Lessons” in the album’s title—if you are gonna cheat, don’t let your woman get ahold of a “Voodoo Doll,” or you’ll be beset by “hair loss, hearing loss, ED” and a myriad of other maladies! Tom’s guitar leads the way on another jazz-based tune, spreading the gospel to “make someone happy today” and “Blow The Blues Away!” This one is reminiscent of the glory days of Tom Scott And The L. A. Express. “Sold My Soul” takes a hard look at the consequences of excesses, finishing with some cool scat-singing in the vein of the aforementioned George Benson.
We had three favorites, too. The fellows let loose on some serious straight blues on “Hurt Myself,” where our hero bemoans his tendency to shoot himself in the foot at the absolute worst of times! The set closes with Tom’s “conversation” with hhis guitar, as he takes offense to excessive media jokes about his homebase of Cleveland, “Big Secret!” And, “The Devil Is A Nice Guy” warns us to “dress for warm weather” as “he smiles in your face while he takes you to his place!” This one has Tom working the wah-wah and fuzzbox to the hilt, giving this one a vintage Seventies’ feel.
Tom Letizia tells it best in his autobiographical tune, “Torture Me,” where “I’ve been playing this guitar for fifty years,” and he just keeps getting better. Grab a copy of “Voodoo Doll and Other Blues Lessons” and prepare to be blown away! Until next time…Sheryl and Don C row.