Lbs of Blues
I'm sure a lot of people in Southern California are going to miss 2000 Lbs of Blues when they are snatched up by some brilliant record company executive for a big label and turned into a major national touring act. With albums like King Size, it's only a matter of time before this superb outfit "hit's the big time," as the saying goes.
Their latest release, like their first, is Grade A. California jump/swing/boogie blues with their trademark descriptive and spicy, but always oh so fun, lyrics permeating throughout. This time out 2000 offers more original works with several guest artists from the SoCal blues scene, with a sort of revolving door on guitar and piano. Anchored by the growling and shouting vocals of front man Michael "Pink" Arguello, King Size offers 15 numbers of hip shakin' music that is just plain fun to listen or move to.
"Goodtime Charlie" starts things off with the blasting horn section of Jimmy Zeiger and Walter Wagner, who are joined by veteran session men Jonny Viau and Troy Jennings on tenor and baritone saxes, giving this band a somewhat fatter sound. Guitarist Junior Watson adds a hair raising solo to this number.
The dance floor will be crowded for a cover of Doc Pomus' swinging "Boogie Woogie Country Girl" and a smoking rendition of "No Wine, No Women," two numbers that feature Tom Mahon's funky piano wizardry that is also heard on half the tunes on this album. "Bad Reputation" showcases both Kirk "Eli" Fletcher's scorching guitar and harp player Roger Baldwin cutting loose with a wicked riff or two along with 2000's own Hugh "Dr. Hepcat" Murray pounding on the 88s.
"Lonely Like A Dog" and "That Girl Is Ugly" are a pair of typical 2000 Lbs Of Blues pieces that sort of go together in an oddball fashion. The first is a lament over the tribulations one can experience when your best girl flat out leaves town on you, and the second's title is self-explanatory with the realization of the storyteller that he too is ugly, but the girl always lets him in ... so what the hell. I found both of these numbers to be uproariously funny.
The album's final two tunes are shining jewels in "Joe Turner/Pete Johnson Tribute" (actual title), with one listen to this tune saying it all, and the zydeco-infused "Why Did You Go Last Night," featuring the vocal brilliance of the very talented Janiva Magness and Sue Palmer (trading in her piano for an accordion).
With two magnificent albums under their belts and countless live shows to their credit, these fellas show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. I could rave on for another three or four paragraphs about these guys, but my space is somewhat limited. So let's suffice to say that these guys deliver on every level possible. There aren't many bands out there today that are good enough for a record label to actually go back into business to record them, which is exactly what happened with the defunct local Southern California Murray Brothers label.
2000 Lbs of Blues is as heavyweight a band as I have ever heard. Fans of this sensational unit won't want to miss King Size, and I have no doubt that their legions will grow. There's a wolf on the river and their name is 2000 Lbs Of Blues. Check 'em out!
--- Steve Hinrichsen
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