Tokyo Tramps review…November 1, 2019….

TOKYO TRAMPS

IF I DIE TOMORROW

VAGABOND ENTERTAINMENT TT50398

FLOWING WATER–IF I DIE TOMORROW–WHY–WOMAN–BLUEBIRD–MISTY FOREST–BETY’S KITCHEN–TALKING TO SOMEONE–MYSTERY MAN–REPROBATES, TRAMPS, AND SAINTS–LOVIN’ MAN–(BONUS TRACKS)–WINTER ALWAYS TURNS TO SPRING–BLUES IN MY BLOOD

We first became acquainted with the Tokyo Tramps thru their contributions within the NoiseTrade community.  With seven albums over a career that has spanned twenty years, the husband-and-wife team of Satoru Nakagawa, who is on vocals and guitars, and Yukiko Fujii on vocals, bass, and keys, moved from Japan to the U. S. to pursue music, meeting by chance in Boston.  The Tramps are rounded out by drummer/vocalist Tim Carman, and their latest album is entitled “If I Die Tomorrow,” produced by Peter Parcek and Ducky Carlisle, who adds additional percussion.

The set has numerous highlights.  The band combines conventional contemporary rock sounds with the traditions of the blues, making this a unique listening experience, indeed.

That contemporary sound leads off with a story of the deep passion our lovers have for one another, “like Flowing Water.”  The title cut has an eerie, voodoo-ish vibe in the vein of Hendrix, while Yukiko takes the lead vocal on “Why,” dealing with the disappointments throughout life.  They get their funk on with the band’s autobiography of sorts, “Betty’s Kitchen,” detailing Satoru’s immigration, “livin’ on Calhoun Street in New Orleans!”

As the set draws near its climax, the band’s love for traditional, Delta-influenced sounds surfaces.  Dig one of our favorites, the Elmore James slide-influenced boogie of “Reprobates, Tramps, And Saints,” all “having a party after the sun goes down!”  The set closes with our other favorite, a romp from Memphis down Highway 61 “haunted by the ghosts of Robert Johnson and more,” the excellent duet that is “Blues In My Blood.”

The Tokyo Tramps went thru a lot of personal struggles during the making of “If I Die Tomorrow.”  That said, they finally achieved the sound they were seeking, and declared it to be the best record in their catalogue.  See for yourself just how great a set it is!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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