AND HIS VESTAPOLITANS
THAT’S WHAT THEY SAY
MAN HAT TONE RECORDS 1090
SEMINOLE BLUES–DON’T YOU LOVE YOUR DADDY NO MORE–IF YOU LEAVE ME NOW–EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS BLUE–ANOTHER LONESOME ROAD–THAT’S WHAT THEY SAY–MOUNTAIN SPARROW–FIGHTIN’–DON’T YOU CHANGE A THING–WISHING WELL–MAMA’S COOKIN–TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY RAG–THE SECRET–HAVING A BALL–IN FOR A PENNY
Brad Vickers has been a busy man lately. He’s on bass on the recent release from Zora Young with Little Mike and the Tornadoes, reviewed elsewhere in this forum. And, he steps up as bandleader of The Vestapolitans with their latest release, done up in a vintage, predominantly-acoustic setting. This one is entitled “That’s What They Say,” with Brad on guitar, joined once again by Margey Peters on fiddle and vocals, along with master fiddler Charles Burnham and drummer Bill Rankin. Adding to the old-time feel is Dave Gross, who adds strings, bass, and piano on several cuts.
The music jumps and swings just like an old-time string or jug band, with elements of Django and Grappelli interspersed throughout. The set starts with the only two covers out of the fifteen songs. First up is a poppin’ version of Tampa Red’s “my baby’s gone” song, “Seminole Blues.” Next up is a song Brad learned thru Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, “Don’t You Love Your Daddy No More.” On this version, Jim Davis’ clarinet and Dave Gross’ mandolin give it a ragtime feel. Speaking of ragtime, both Margey and Charles add fiddle to the “Twenty-First Century Rag,” where “your watch is a computer,” and “you can take a “robotic car” wherever you wanna go!
One of the most powerful cuts ion the set is done a capella, save for Dave on percussion. It is “Fightin, in the name of the Lord,” a brooding tale of greed and the sordid direction this country seems to be heading, and features some deep gospel shoutin’ from Mikey Junior.
We had three favorites, too. Brad knows his love affair is coming to an end, due to the constant “ringside fights,” because “Everything About You Is Blue.” Margey takes the lead vocal on a jumpin’ little tune about every conceivable ethnic food delight one can imagine, “Mama’s Cookin.” Early in his career, Brad worked with Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. You can hear that influence in one of the first songs Brad wrote. It’s done as a duet with Margey, but with those fluid guitar lines and punchy sax, all that’s lacking in “Another Lonesome Road” is Nadine in that coffee-colored Cadillac!
Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans continue to create great music that is both stimulating and entertaining, done in a style that is indeed timeless. “That’s What They Say” continues his growing legacy! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.