The Long-Awaited Rick Monroe EP: “Gypsy Soul”

“From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it…”

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June 20, 2017; Nashville, TN.  My man Rick and the band present six tunes that will linger in your musical mind long after you turn your player off. If you remember, I covered his performance in Ladson, South Carolina at the “Honky Tonk Saloon” last February (I still can’t believe there is really a venue with that name! lol)  This CD sampler dropped last month.  I mentioned to Rick that, since I do not have a CD player in my new apartment, that I could only review it while driving in the car and he said the trips might have to be short because it is an “EP”. you know what?  I took many  pleasurable “short trips” to listen again and again…

Here are the tracks. In reverse order, they are:

The bluesy and soulful with Memphis-like horns, “Rage On”; a Country-rocker, the first one I would play on my ‘Pajama Bar’ radio show, “Moment Like This”; a great title song, “Gypsy Soul”; the mid-tempo with sexy-delicious lyrics, “Ease On Down”; another C-Rocker (rock-her) in “Better” and his romantic smash from the winter of 2017, “This Side of You”.

I dig the many metaphors on “Better”!  “She’s like that first sip of coffee/that first drag on a cigarette…”  Great word-pictures! I once had one whose kiss was “like that first sip of an ice-cold Heineken” lol

Cut four is the title track, “Gypsy Soul” and some of those lyrics could be part of my personal theme song; I really identify with it! No non-rebels need apply.

From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, I believe, as a man who is nomadic as a “gypsy”, if you ask some of my peers who don’t know I know how they feel about me, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it.  I do want to mention the late, great Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions who sang the R&B hit, “Gypsy Woman” because of the title and lyrical neighborhood point of reference herein.

While Rick Monroe’s core audience is Country music, he surly can cross over into other genres.

This is a five-acoustic guitar EP5 gold guitars!  I rage that you bring on the full album, Rick! Safe travels, Pioneer.  Cheers.

(I’ll update the video when he releases the feature-length scenes, K?)

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Please leave your comments! Thank you.

(be sure to check out the mothership, https://achilliad.wordpress.com)

Manchin Musical Greetings By Paul’s “Salutations”

I dined upon and digested “Salutations” by Canada’s Paul Manchin during the spring 2017 holidays and I must admit that the feast was a smorgasbord of gourmet sounds upon a diverse continental musical menu, unlike any in recent memory. This is not to imply that I loved every utensil on this table setting, however. Then, his CD got stuck in my car radio player for many days, causing me to do even more research on how to free it again so that I could recite these titles to you!   Relatable…very. For me, this is a whole De Ja Vu experience with Paul again.  I first reviewed Paul’s “Truth” and “Expression” while writing for someone named “DJ Ron” who edited About.com/dancemusic circa 2006.  His voice and approach still reminds me of jazz singer, Michael Franks.

Leading with “Take A Ride”, you will hear a concept that anybody can relate to via its narrative description. Who among us hasn’t felt the need to take a car ride to try and forget a failed romance, unrequited love or just to keep from arguing?

“One”, cut two, is the first modest danceable number on the album and my favorite overall.  I play it on “repeat” mode.  Its beat conjures up a combination of the late Aaliyah’s, “Rock The Boat” and the Hues Corporation smash of the 1970s, “Rock The Boat”, just a tad slower [song title coincidence not planned, dear reader]. He bills this as a song “dealing with grief”, yet I do not hear it as dark as that. It is the best pure song on the album and Paul should develop his next effort around this style of “cha-cha”. As many of this effort it ends cold, leaving you wanting more.  I prefer the “vamp to fade”.

The rest of this CD seems to wax and wane between up and downtempo instrumentals with an occasional introspective classic, quiet piano piece interspersed.  You can find yourself in deep thought while listening to these songs and I wonder if the inspiration for some of this music is personal Paul Manchin angst?

So, is Paul an accomplished pianist? No, according to him, he composes and has other musicians play the keys.  I was hoping that it was he on some of those classic tickling the ivories moments like on “Are You Mine?” /featuring Gabriele Tosi.

I heard a mixed bag of intros and themes . For example, track three, “King”, has a familiar dance club intro only to flat-line into a mid-tempo love (?) song. Something strange going on here, methinks…

“I Think I Care” is really slow; “Let U Go” has a much bigger sound, ahead of three, mostly percussive jams – “Personal Space” with the most Afro-electronic beat – and then back to forlorn love on the 100% acoustic guitar, “I Want You To Know”.

Paul adds a couple more nice and promising short, instrumental interludes, including a very soulful instrumental theme on “Coming My Way”, before we bump to the disco beat of the very suggestive sucker, “Lollipop”!  Oh, NOW I am awake! An it’s a good thing because the next selection continues the 4X4 club beat with “spinning/spyros poulos mix. I had to ask, what is a “poulos”? Maybe a Greek DJ remix thing?

Track fifteen, “Down”, is a definite dance club and Rhythm and Blues number – but what is he saying?  “Life” is a good road trip theme song to drive to – if only it were longer. “Exitus” is very listenable and has the same beat of Freddie Jackson’s “We’ve Only Just Begun”.  And Uh-oh, Wow!  I fear the short classic horror movie organ on the title cut, “Salutations”! Which Edgar Allen Poe or Vincent Price character is going to jump-out next?!

To call this album “schizophrenic” might sound “mean” in today’s quasi politically-correct times, and yet it does have two personalities!  Maybe it is more like “Cybill”, lol

“Salutations” is a study of contrasts among twenty tasty tracks. Even though I obviously listened a lot in my car to this, I give it   theater-masks-illustration-representing-three-mask-three-different-facial-expression-happy-angry-sad-37790143    3.5 melancholy face masks out of a possible 5 due to the shortness of the instrumental tracks which seemed like padding.  I would have also liked to have heard those tune play longer and move towards a statement.  Finally, I cannot wait to hear this album on my full-out home music system, instead of in a car, this summer.

Comments welcome.

Check out my mothership at www.achilliad.wordpress.com

Pupon The Don: “Fuel 2 My Fire” Cuts The Mustard

…“You say its love/But you keep throwing stones/You keep on throwing stones…”

 

Pupon The Don

[Los Angeles, March 16, 2016]

Even an “ole skool Gee” like me, from the Frankie Crocker-fueled, 107.5 WBLS FM days, can groove to the Brotha, Pupon The Don and his lament, on “Fuel 2 My Fire” [All Natural Records], which I would like to listen to, one day, on CD!

The bed is a spicy gourmet blend of Trap, Teardrop, synthesized metallic bracelet, strumming Mexican guitar and Reggae sounds with a splash of the dry desert heat of a “High Plains Drifter” riff-feeling musical hook.  Pupon touches all bases with “Fuel 2 My Fire”.  It is part of yet another morph of the sound of Hip Hop in the twenty-first century.

“Fuel 2 My Fire” is about a relationship where one significant other’s constant accusations aggravate the other to the point that he will not take it anymore, yet turns it on its “muthaf**in” head into poetic motivation; “You say its love/But you keep throwing stones/You keep on throwing stones…”

I like the dope way it fades in and then, using slowdown feature, pauses before riding into the fire of independence.

Last year, “…The Don” established his own record label, “All Natural Records”.  There he is connecting with fellow rappers like Swavy Mac and No Cence.  What remains to be seen is whether Pupon The Don will impact the world as not only a recording artist, writer and producer, but as a successful Activist upon his utopian goal of “creating music the whole world can build their future on”.

I have heard that same utopian ideal from several Millennials in the past week, alone – even from my own generation. I pray music can be an offensive weapon that helps to smite the negative barbarians who try to upset our peaceful world these daze.

There is no grey (Pupon) area! The Don cuts the mustard on this single and I look forward to the album and video (which I will add below in the future) soon.  Since it is now my latest mental “tune wedgie”, I rate this track with‘four dropped mics’ out of five.

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Please feel free to leave your comments.

(if you are not familiar with the idiom “Cut the Mustard”, click here) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Doesn%27t+Cut+the+Mustard