Bad News Barnes review…November 19, 2015…

CHRIS “BAD NEWS” BARNES

AND THE BRETHREN OF BLUES BAND

90 PROOF TRUTH

UNDER THE RADAR MUSIC GROUP

FLAMING SADDLES RECORDS

AMERICA NEEDS A QUEEN–SALT SUGAR AND FAT–POST OP TRANSGENDER–HUNGRY AND HORNY–WESTBORO BAPTIST BLUES–90 PROOF TRUTH–CIA–LAWYER RIDING SHOTGUN–GOING DOWN–BOOM BOOM (OUT GO THE LIGHTS)–RAISE YOUR HAND–MY DING-A-LING

DVD:  AMERICA NEEDS A QUEEN–WESTBORO BAPTIST BLUES–GOING DOWN–90 PROOF TRUTH–SOMEDAY BABY W/FELICIA COLLINS

“LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S….”  Well, that’s a whole ‘nother show, but Chris “Bad News” Barnes isn’t that far-removed from the SNL scene.  A brilliant satirist, he’s written for Jim Belushi, and appeared on “30 Rock,” “Seinfeld,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and many more.  Plus, he’s a helluva blues singer and harp man, with an affinity for good ole hokum blues–written with lyrics that deal with hot-button societal topics, and are full of double-entendres’ and sexually-charged innuendos.  As such, Chris wrote eight of these hilarious tunes for his latest album, “90 Proof Truth,”  The set closes with Chris doing four live songs in The Cutting Room, allowing us to hear more of his versatility on harp and vocals.

We are gonna start with those first.  Chris has a big, booming bluesman’s voice, and puts it all out there on the Don Nix classic, “Going Down,” and a crowd-pleasing rendition of Little Walter’s “Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights).  These were our favorites from the live portion of the program.

The eight originals are priceless looks at our society and its obsession for social media and CNN.  Chris abandons all manner of “political correctness,” and “don’t hold nothin’ back,” appearing to be like Elwood Blues on that mission from God to spread his message!  He leads off by saying that “America Needs A Queen,” to add a little “fashion and pomp” to today’s scene!  This one has fine sax from Albert Collins alum, Crispin Cioe.  “Salt Sugar And Fat” is set over a “Shake Rattle And Roll” arrangement, and is the reason he’s “dyin’ from heart disease!”  The title cut warns all us guys to be leery of opening up to our women when we have too much of “the spirits,” and “90 Proof Truth” takes over!  And, he tackles a sho’ nuff’ shot of twang in the tale of an impending divorce with “my Lawyer Riding Shotgun!”

Our favorites were easy.  Set over a smoky groove, Chris recounts the story of his latest lover, as soon as “she” becomes his favorite “Post Op Transgender!”  And, the set’s most powerful cut is set over the melody of “Ode To Billie Joe” from Bobbie Gentry.  It deals with gay rights and the short-sightedness of the church, and is entitled “Westboro Baptist Blues.”  Chris is joined on this one by Dana Fuchs and Late Show alum Felicia Collins on vocals.

The companion DVD features the video for “Westboro Baptist Blues,” and live versions of “America Needs A Queen,” “Going Down,” “90 Proof Truth,” and a DVD-only version of Felicia and Chris on “Someday Baby.”

If you are easily offended, lace up your conservative wing-tips and keep walkin.’  Otherwise, enjoy a fine comedic talent with a nose for blues from Chris “Bad News” Barnes and “90 Proof Truth!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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