Chris O'Leary's got it, man, he's got it. From rollickin' rock (Give It) to weekend stomp (Without You) to slinkin' down-lo back-alley swank (Louisiana Woman) to barrelhouse balladry (Pictures of You) and well beyond…and, lord, that's only the first four of thirteen cuts delivered with pizzazz, panache, plenty of pig's feet n' gumbo, and more than a little pugilistic punch-up all through the blues' back yard. His ace band knows how to center O'Leary's vocals while parading all around him, hot and hip but perfectly in control, ac-cen-tu-atin' the positive, the negative, the questionable, and even the downright nasty. Thus, Waiting for the Phone to Ring most astutely joins VizzTone's catalogue of modern blues gems.
In fact, the very title cut is sassier 'n shit, with sprechestimme, rogue-ish strut, and enough testosterone to fuel an A-grade dragster…but not TOO much, mind ya, as Chris sings, among other matters, about a woman who beat "a deadbeat husband with a 'luminum baseball bat". The times have changed since yer pappy's days, boys, so don't think the wimmens put up with that guff no' mo'…might getcha hurt, Bert. The old James Montgomery Band put out classic cuts like this, and I'm sure as hell happy to see the mode ain't been abandoned, even in this age of PC goop and drivel.
Coming from a six-year stint with Levon Helm's Barnburners, O'Leary knows the rough 'n tumble, and his earlier debut, Mr. Used to Be, garnered critical raves and awards nominations near and far, clinching a "Best New Artist Debut" hoo-rah at Chi-town's Blues Blast Music Awards. Well, this one, y'all, takes the ass-kicking a step further and every single song was written, unbelievably, by O'Leary hisself. The guy's a quintuple threat, and, heyyyyy, waitaminnit…wasn't that his grandma's cow who kicked over the lantern in Chicago and………?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles