FAME Review: Wiser Time - Beggars and Thieves
Wiser Time - Beggars and Thieves

Beggars and Thieves

Wiser Time

Available from Wiser Time's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

It's been a while since I heard someone I thought followed on Bobby Whitlock's heels, but Carmen Sclafani has that flavor and drive. Beggars and Thieves was wisely designed to overwhelm the listener from the first flat minute and slide on into a mellower frame of mind. Love and Devotion starts building straight-out chords but catches fire as a piano ambles in, drums roll, and slide guitar greases the skids into a bayou-lit Southern rocker that keeps expanding. Ah, but then I glanced down the roster and discovered that someone was finally discovering Bad Company's Seagull. Yes indeedy, I knew I was in for a good time.

There's also more than a little Delaney and Bonnie here, some Randall Bramblett, and the good Lord only knows how many of the 70s rootsers that were around during the San Fran heyday. Sclafani sings, writes, and plays guitar but surrounds himself with a band long in the groove and as clabbered up with etouffee and dusty back roads as him. There's some boogie, some rock, folk, blues, and the guy can also slow-ass a song beautifully, as in Revolution 09, a swampily souled mello-funk cut overhung with weeping willows and mangroves lazing under balmy Florida skies; thus, whatever you might want in the genre is pretty much here. Don't ignore the early Faces side influences either, but, coming up the decades, there's some Hooters, Counting Crows, Timbuk 3, and a host of others as well.

This ain't yer country club swank-muzik, y'all, no, better you just haul out them suspendered blue jeans, a beat-down straw hat, and a pair of trusty clodhoppers, 'cause we're getting' down in the the dirt, Clem, and, after a hot day's back-breaking, you an me is gonna pass the jug and dance a hoot 'r two. No, no, no, fergit thet cocaine, son, reefer'll do ya jes' fine. Limber up, steal the Cheshire Cat's grin, and put your arm around Sweet Jezebel over there; time to have us a time.

Track List:

  • Love and Devotion
  • On Our Way
  • Take Me Back Home
  • It's Hard Letting You Go
  • Revolution 09
  • Keep It On (Sclafani / Schneider)
  • Whiskey and Wine
  • Working Man's Blues (Steve Decker)
  • Seagull (Ralphs / Rodgers)
All songs written by Carmen Sclafani except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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