Teresa James And The Rhythm Tramps review….April 6, 2018….

TERESA JAMES AND THE RHYTHM TRAMPS

HERE IN BABYLON

JESI-LU RECORDS

I KNOW I AIN’T BEEN SO PERFECT–HERE IN BABYLON–GIVE ME A HOLLER–HEAD UP, HEART OPEN–I KEEP DRIFTING AWAY–GROUND ZERO–HOLD ON–YOU HAD TO BRING THAT UP–THE DAY THE BLUES CAME TO CALL–I GOTTA ROLL–21ST CENTURY MAN–FIND ME A BAR

With a voice that’s sexy, sultry, soulful, and anything you want it to be, Teresa James, a native Texan, transplanted herself to L. A. ’bout twenty years ago.  She got hold of some of the best session men that town has to offer and made them her backing band, The Rhythm Tramps.  Recently, they all got together to lay down the tracks for what turned out to be her tenth album, “Here In Babylon.”  It was done as a “live in the studio” project, and the originals herein are predominantly composed wholly or in part by Teresa and her long-time bassman and partner in crime, Terry Wilson.

There are a plethora of highlights and favorites, with various genres’ represented.  The set leads off with the story of everyone’s flaws and how a relationship always brings them to the surface, “I Know I Ain’t Been So Perfect,” with a double dose of keyboards, with Teresa winning the Wurlitzer prize, and venerable Mike Finnegan on the B-3.  A sweet horn arrangement adds the New Orleans spice to the tale of digging these good blues to help you thru tough times, “Give Me A Holler,” featuring a fine guitar solo from Billy Watts.  Teresa has a humorous streak too, evidenced by the jazzy, Pink-Panther-esque fo’ day creep of “just when I thought we were doin’ all right, You Had To Bring That Up,” with trumpet from Darrell Leonard.

We had three favorites, too.  The set closes with that good ol’ shave-and-a-haircut Diddley-beat that drives the story of “turnin’ off the TV,” “I’m Gonna Find Me A Bar, with a real good band!”  The title cut has a Doomsday backbeat and Teresa gets in some cool veiled jabs at the stuff goin’ on in society today, “Here In Babylon.”  And, you can’t have a complete blues album without a trip down to “the birth place of the blues,” those ol’ Crossroads at “Ground Zero,” where “you’ll always have the Devil to pay!”

Teresa James And The Rhythm Tramps make the whole thing sound so easy—effortlessly going from roadhouse rock to N’ Awlins funk, to Memphis grit with stops everywhere in between!  Its always fun, down “Here In Babylon!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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