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The Little Memphis Blues Orchestra :: An Album Review
by Shirley Kennedy

If you enjoy a bit of hand-clapping, soul-stirring southern rock with some blues and soul thrown in for good measure, you will love the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra’s debut album. The album features three covers and five original songs written and performed by the band. On “Found,” Brian Less displays his skills on the piano, together with his rock-infused voice. This song will have you moving in your seat at the very least and dancing across the floor at the most. Next, Zippy Dieterich seduces with “Sweet Water.” The song has a catchy beat, and I guarantee that after two listenings, you will be involuntarily singing this one (like I found myself doing the other day). “South Land,” by Sam Gunderson is a piece of pure genius. With this song, Sam solidifies his position as the band’s premiere blues/soul man and displays how these genres are embedded into southern rock.

LiMBO next shows what they can do with other people’s music. On “She’s Into Something,” Sam Gunderson again entertains us with his gravely, soulful voice. On this cut, he has a little tease in his voice that leads us to believe that she really is into something. We’re not sure what, but we want to find out. Jeff Lopez’s sax is to die for as well on this one. When I interviewed the band, Brian discussed how Taylor found him. One line from his quote is coming home to me when I listen to his rendition of “Meat Man:” “I want to play rock and roll!” Brian, you got your wish, honey. Classic rock and roll piano highlights Brian’s voice on this song. “Meat Man” transports me to the days of Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Speaking of being transported, Sam Gunderson voice and Jeff Lopez’s sopranino take me to the Cotton Club with “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Sung in a classic blues ballad style, Sam’s rendition of this song reminds me of a lazy summer day. The harmonies with Brian are great, and the sopranino reinforces the easy going nature of this song.

When I heard the title of the next song, I knew without listening that it would be a perfect song for Zippy. “Bad Boy” rocks out with Sam’s guitar riffs and Zippy’s edgy sound. Listening to Zippy go from sweet and innocent on “Sweet Water” to rocker dude on “Bad Boy” displays Zippy’s range as both a singer and songwriter. “Second Best,” by Sam Gunderson, rounds out the album. Again, Sam shows his uncanny ability to mix southern rock, soul, and blues and make the three sounds nicely blend together. “Second Best” is a fun, rollicking song that shows us that the blues don’t always have to depress.

Displaying some of the best the south has to offer, LiMBO will take the music world by storm with their self-titled debut album. As Sam says on “South Land,” “pass the grits because I’m [definitely] down with it.” Pick the album up tomorrow from iTunes. You’ll be glad you did.
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published 10.12.2006 © 2005 jazz news :: home page

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