The Catbone Unreleased label has a marked gift for winnowing out some of the smokiest, thickest, greasiest blues around. A while back, they issued a multi-CD series of anthologies that centered in on songs by the great and near-great that were uniformly raw, muscular, and jumpin', a series which easily made my Best Of list that year. They remain in my constant-rotation bin, and now comes a perfect follow-on in this APB Band Cornbread & Cadillacs slab. Don't mistake the ensemble for the other two APB's (a buncha punkers and then the ensemble put together by Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd) 'cause they're miles removed from those cats.
As the combo's a foursome, the spotlight's on the expected vocals and guitar two-prong, here a potent twinspot as Billy Gregory is prominently similar to Roy Buchanan with bits of Chuck Berry (when he got down into the depths of the blues) as well as some Buddy Guy and a sidecar of Billy Gibbons for that dose of Tejas BBQ sauce so tastily adhered to the chunkier modes. The gent's played, recorded, and/or toured with Prof. Longhair, Jimmy Reed, and John Lee Hooker among other impressive names but was also one of the cats who stepped into It's a Beautiful Day's later funkier LPs in the 70s as a band member.
Willie Lockett sports the group's pipes, Gregory and Paul Boudreaux (bass) at times jumping in, and the guy's primal, perhaps best shown in I'm your Hambone, a slow nasty rockin' blues with Gregory's guitar screaming non-stop behind him, but, wherever you lay an ear, it's obvious Lockett's singing straight from a backbone corded up with the sinews and fat nasty experience of the down side of life. Boudreaux and Tony D'Allesandro carry the rhythm section but there's a sessioneer beneath even them: Gregg Villafranco providing keyboard atmospherics like an evening bayou mist slowly eddying through the landscape. Very subtle, but the CD would be quite different without him.
The APB Band's well known in New Orleans and can be found regularly in Bourbon Street's top nightclubs—and rightly so: once you hear this disc, you'll well understand that a lot of good-time drinkin' and butt-boogyin' goes on when the boys hit the stage, patrons grinnin' from ear to ear and capturing a full rasherful of the N'Awlins delta spirit famous 'round the world. Now you can have it in your living room, but I advise everyone to keep the wet bar stocked and the furniture to the side as there'll be some dancin' 'n sashayin' goin' on the moment the speakers light up.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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