The Lucky Losers review…May, 22, 2018…

THE LUCKY LOSERS

WITH CATHY LEMONS AND PHIL BERKOWITZ

DIRTY CAT RECORDS  DCR 1507

IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY–TAKE THE LONG ROAD–ALLIGATOR BAPTISM–THE RIVER–SUPERNATURAL BLUES–MAKE A RIGHT TURN–BULLDOGS AND ANGELS (BRING IT ON OUT)–LAST RIDE–DON’T TAKE TOO MUCH–LOVE IS BLIND–YOU LEFT IT BEHIND

One of San Francisco’s finest blues outfits is headed by two major vocal talents, Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, and Phil doubles down as a harpblaster extraordinaire.  On their third set for Dirty Cat Records, The Lucky Losers, as they are affectionately known, once again ventured out to Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios to lay down “Blind Spot,” eleven cuts written as a team effort, either by Cathy, Phil, or Danny Caron, in whole or in part.

Over the course of this set, we are treated to blues, R & B, and a touch of jazz, as the duo takes a hard look into what society has become, realizing that a lot of it ain’t pretty, but their talents bring it all into sharp focus for the listener.  Cathy and Phil are tremendous duet partners, playing effortlessly off one another, and there are highlights galore on this album.

On one of the few cuts where Cathy goes it alone, she gets into a cool soul-diva groove over a funky, Hi Records-Memphis arrangement, reminding us that, in order to stay on one’s true path, sometimes you gotta skip the shortcuts and “Take The Long Road.”  This one also features Laura Chavez on guitar.  Kid Andersen is on guitar as both Cathy and Phil show how society’s grasp on human dignity is slowly “circling the drain” on the horn-fueled “Alligator Baptism.”  Laura’s back on guitar for the downright Santana-esque “Supernatural Blues,” and they strike a loping, Dr. John-styled groove fired up by piano from Chris Burns in “Bulldogs And Angels (Bring It On Out).”

We had two favorites, too, at polar opposite ends of the musical spectrum.  Amidst the sounds of gunfire, police sirens, news reports, and 45 blathering in the background, Cathy bemoans the “bullets on Highway 91” in Las Vegas and other references to the seemingly-endless barrage of bad news.  It’s called “Last Ride,” and it hits home—hard, and has Phil on the big ol’ chromatic.  The pair close the set on a playful note with “You Left It Behind.”  It’s a humorous, almost Sonny and Cher-like look at the pitfalls, pratfalls and backslidin’ of two musicians obviously in love with each other!

The Lucky Losers have traveled all over this country to bring their music to the masses, and, virtually everywhere they go, there is a feeling of desperation from the fallout of the daily news.  They offer us “Blind Spot” as a poultice, and it’s a sweet ride down the blues highway!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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