Gus Spenos review…May 12, 2016…

GUS SPENOS

IF YOU WERE GOLD BABY

SELF-RELEASED

IF YOU WERE GOLD, BABY–IVY LEAGUE–I WANT YOUR LOVING–CAN’T HELP MYSELF–TEQUILA–WALKIN WITH MR LEE–CRY HARD LUCK–ROCK WITH IT BABY–MONEY’S GETTIN’ CHEAPER–STRICTLY CASH–96 POUNDS–GIN GIN GIN–HOT BOX

Gus Spenos is a killer sax man who fronts a monster big band outta the Indianapolis area.  He’s one of those guys that has a velvety-smooth vocal delivery  reminiscent of Louis Jordan and Louis Prima.  His outfit plays a mean potion of jump-blues and boogie woogie, and he’s rarin’ to go with the May 20 release of his debut, “If You Were Gold, Baby.”  It’s a sweet mix of originals and covers all done in that swingin’ style tailor-made for the dance floor.

That;s another one of the many cool things about this set.  Award-winning trombonist Wycliffe Gordon handles most of the horn arrangements,, and gives everyone ample room to stretch out a little on every cut.  Leading off is the blues-driven title cut, where, “If You Were Gold, Baby, I’d never trade you in for money!”  Guest vocalist Charanee Wade duets with Gus on “that crazy way of lovin,” Jimmy Preston’s “Rock With It Baby!”

The instrumentals are just as much fun.  Everyone gets a solo in “Tequila,” and Brandon McCune adds some mighty tasty keys work on “Ivy League.”

We had a spate of favorites.  Gus and his sax lead the charge on the R & B classic, “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee,” with great call-and-response from Brandon on the keys.  The rarely-heard Jimmy “T-99” Nelson chestnut, “Cry Hard Luck,” gets a jumpin’ treatment here, talkin’ about “ridin’ in my brand-new Oldsmobile!!”  And, we’ve always loved Jimmy Witherspoon’s humorous tale of hard times everywhere, “Money’s Gettin’ Cheaper,” with a fine guitar solo from Brad Williams and another one from Brandon on keys.

When he’s not blowin’ his @@@ off on the bandstand, Gus Spenos improves the quality of life for many, many others, as he is a top Indianapolis neurologist.  He and his band sho’ nuff bring the heat on “If You Were Gold, Baby,” and, when you listen, be prepared to dance!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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