The Lucky Losers review…July 10, 2016….

THE LUCKY LOSERS

WITH CATHY LEMONS AND

PHIL BERKOWITZ

IN ANY TOWN

DIRTY CAT RECORDS  DCR 1505

SO HIGH–IT AIN’T ENOUGH–JACKSON–DON’T LET ‘EM SEE YOU CRY–BLIND MAN IN THE DARK–I CAN’T CHANGE YA–STILL ENOUGH TIME TO CRY–GIVE ME A SIGN–IN ANY TOWN–DEVIL’S DREAM–SMALL TOWN TALK

Last year, San Fran-based Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz certainly drew “A Winning Hand” with their stellar debut of the same name.  This time, the world-class duo of Cathy on vocals and Phil on vocals and harp take a look at the darker side of the Great American Dream with nine originals and two covers that comprise “In Any Town.”  Joining them for this set are Marvin Greene on guitars, Chris Burns on keys, Tim Wagar on bass, and Robi Bean on drums.  Special guests include Kid Andersen (who is also producer), Terry Hanck, Jeff Jensen, and Frank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser.

Also, as one listens to this album, you can’t help but enjoy the duets between Cathy and Phil, something that has become a lost art on the contemporary scene for a long time.  That’s how things begin, on a soulful note, as Cathy and Phil compare their endearing love for one another as two adolescents experiencing love for the first time, “So High!”  Cathy’s original, “It Ain’t Enough,” has strong gospel overtures as she tells the tale of dealing with one’s imperfections and shortcomings.  She gains a measure of redemption a few cuts later, as she reminds us to be strong no matter what, and “Don’t Let ‘Em See You Cry.”  This one is done as a good, old-school R & B rave-up, and Marvin lays down some mighty B. B.-inspired guitar licks around Phil’s chromatic harp work.

That darker side of things is explored thru Cathy’s interpretation of the title cut, lamenting what might have been, “In Any Town.”  And, Phil and writing partner  Danny Caron provide one of the set’s highlights.  Acoustic and electric guitars over Phil’s vocals take the listener on a haunting trip down “at the gallows and to the Crossroads” to do battle with one’s personal demons, the “Devil’s Dream.”

We really enjoyed the duets of Cathy and Phil, and the two most playful ones served as our favorites.  First up was a waaay-cool read of Johnny and June Cash’s “Jackson.”  And, they play lovers who love each other in spite of their efforts to change the other, set over a freight-train, country-blues arrangement, “I Can’t Change Ya!”

The rough-hewn vocal delivery of Cathy Lemons paired with the suave hipness of Phil Berkowitz’s make these two perfect for each other, and for us fans, too.  “In Any Town” is a fine sophomore effort, with strong vocals, material, and musicianship that guarantees  something for everyone!    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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