Blues Bytes


October / November 2008

an associate

Los Blancos
Just This Once
Casablancos Records

Los Blancos

I have to admit I’m a little confused. I’ve just finished listening to Just This Once by Los Blancos, and I’m sure they have to be from Southern California or New Orleans by the infectious grooves they’ve laid down on what is a very good record. So imagine my surprise when I learn that these purveyors of some very good funk, blues and soul are from Syracuse, New York of all places. With names like Aberdeen, Winston, Tiffault and Nanni in the band, there’s not a Cajun or Mexican amongst them. Hopefully one of these days I’ll get to meet the players and find out more about their roots. But let’s get back to what’s most important, their music.

A funky bass line followed by some serious slide guitar and accordion lets me know that I’m in for some funky music on the first cut, “Backbeat Rhythm.” “Let me tell you about my baby…they know her all over town…she’s always out on the dance floor…she likes to shake it on down…she’s got a backbeat rhythm…she drives all the men wild!” Zydeco influences can be heard all over “Backbeat Rhythm” and we’re definitely off and running.

The second tune, “I’ll Be Waiting,” slows things down and introduces the organ, played by Mark Nanni. The object of lead singer Colin Aberdeen’s affection is playing hard to get and all he can do is wait. “I can’t get you out of my mind girl…you were so sweet & fine…next to you…all the rest were second best…I want to hold you…all night long!” But Colin is confident that he’s the one, “I’ll be waiting…for a love that’s true…cause I know my love is going to come shining through”. Let’s hope for Colin’s sake he is the one for this girl. More keyboards, in the form of a piano this time, provide the musical backdrop for “Changes”. “I’m tired of this coop…I should have flown long ago….I’m changing on my own.” Mark sings vocals on “Changes” and he’s convinced its time to do things differently.

Up next is the only non-original song on the record, “Memphis Women and Chicken,” written by Dan Penn. There are definitely some fine women in Memphis and some of the best fried chicken in the south. If you do get to Memphis, look up Gus’s Fried Chicken, it’s definitely worth your time to appreciate this Southern delicacy. The band does Penn’s song justice and I’m definitely looking forward to my next visit to the Bluff City. One of the interesting things about this record is that you can generally tell which musician wrote the song by the musical influence it purveys.

Mark Nanni’s piano and organ playing on “Again It Was You,” is very intricate and soulful. A story of love lost and found again, “Again It Was You,” is a nice departure from the intensity of some of the other cuts on the record. “You used to haunt me all night long…while I used to roam the streets at night…looking for something new…Lord, when I finally found it, when I found it again, it was you”. A Zydeco drum beat takes back down south on the next cut, “Willie’s got a New Leg.” Written by bass player, Steven T. Winston, “Willie’s Got a New Leg” has you back in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. “Cuttin' a rug…like leaving a jug…he’s a big old flirt…chasing all the skirts…the envy of all the men…Willie’s got a new leg and he’s back on full again!” Sounds Willie is quite the player.

Lead singer Colin Aberdeen wrote the arrangement for next cut, the traditional song, “Biscuit Roller.” A wicked slide guitar comes through my speakers as Colin leads us on this musical journey. “You’ll wake up in the morning…find your biscuit roller gone…you’ll hunt high and low…as you leave your happy home!” A song of despair, Colin is aching for this woman he loves to come back home. “I’ll cry all night long…no matter how hard I cry…my baby won’t come back home!” The accordion of Mark Nanni sets the scene for “Luck Today.” “Oh…I can’t believe my luck today…it’s the same as yesterday…but different in some subtle way!” A strong guitar intro by Colin lets us know that he’s the writer of our next song, “Get Along.” “Get along…little doggie…now get along!” “Looking for your love down in the lost & found…brother, she’s long gone…you’re just hanging around.”

Los Blancos closes out this highly entertaining record with an instrumental written by Steven T. Winston, “Couch Trip.” A slow, melodic instrumental, “Couch Trip,” almost seems out of place on the record. A hidden track featuring the drum work of Mark Tiffault brings the record to a close.

I’ve enjoyed this record, Just This Once, by Los Blancos. It’s energetic, playful, and does an excellent job of showcasing the diversified talents of a very good band. You can learn more about this talented group from Syracuse by perusing their website at

--- Kyle Deibler


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