FAME Review: Professor Louie and the Crowmatix - Wings on Fire
Professor Louie and the Crowmatix - Wings on Fire

Wings on Fire

Professor Louie and the Crowmatix

Woodstock Records - WR0036

Available from Woodstock Records.

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

There's a virtue in getting long in the tooth, as all the Baby Boomers are doing, and that singularity is this: you've had a lot of time to get really good at what you do. The young have the fire, the speed, and the stamina, but the older cats possess a lot of finesse, experience, and nuance. Both serve each "faction" well, and some are able to wield the panoply in both sides, but there are definitely telling traits. Prof Louie and his Crowmatix are definitely of the Baby Boom (and thereabouts) era, and they've had ample time to steep themselves in this way cool folky blues gig that more than once veers into mannered gospel, especially in cuts like A Book Faded Brown.

Wings on Fire is pronouncedly a group affair, a communal effort. Four out of five members sing, all five play, and it's them thar group harmonies that most mark this CD as unique. You don't find that trait much anymore. Yes, there are plenty of lead vocals too, mostly shared between the Prof (Aaron L. Hurwitz) and Miss Marie (no clue), but the constant presence of background and back-up singing is what expands each song, makes it much richer. The group's been nominated for a Grammy and strongly reflects the old San Francisoc / Fillmore / Avalon / Family Dog days. There's some Lamb in there, some Stoneground, some Sons of Champlin, some Bodacious D.F., all that way cool now forgotten stuff.

Oh, and re: that 'long in the tooth' stuff? I sprint to note that I ain't in that crowd. I'm only 29 - though, true, like Jack Benny, I've celebrated that particular birthday 29 times, but, hey, it's all in the numbers' ain't it? Just ask a Republican. Nonetheless, if you're getting up in years and feeling nostalgic, there's a lot here for that, or if you're, like me, only 29, and looking for days-gone-by authenticity that's rarer then hen's—er: crow's—teeth, look no further, you've found it. And if you want more, this is a prolific group: since 2000, they've issued, including this one, 11 CDs, and thus you have verdant pastures to romp in. 'N there are a lot of great lyrics throughout, to boot. One suggestion, though, to the band itself: let Josh Colow and his guitar loose more frequently puh-leeeeeeeze. That cat's good. The sit-ins of John Platania are very nice, but Colow's leads? Yow! Perfect.

Track List:

  • Down at the Country Uncommon Love (Kevin Dougherty)
  • Open Hand, Open Heart (Hurwitz / Spinosa)
  • A Book Faded Brown (Hurwitz / Spinosa)
  • High Tech Wreck
  • Top of the World (Spinosa / Hurwitz)
  • Color of the Blues
  • TimeMoves On
  • The Bird Song (Hurwitz / Spinosa)
  • Moment in the Sun (Hurwitz / Spinosa)
  • Center of your Circle (Spinosa / Hurwitz)
  • Wings on Fire
  • 4% Pantomime

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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