& White - 45 r.p.m.
Produced and Engineered by Joe Moody
Recorded at Danger Multitrack Studios, Providence, RI
Mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M Works, Cambridge,MA
Reviewer -Michael Khouri
Black & White have payed their musical dues. Working the club circuit all over New England and beyond for more than a decade, the Rhode Island based band have diligently honed their cool, quirky R&B style and group sound, garnering a legion of fans, respect and critical acclaim all along the way. Their latest release, 45 r.p.m. is not your typical blues album. Even the most noted blues bands in New England (Roomful of Blues, Dave Howard and the High Rollers, Young Neil and the Vipers, to name a few), tend to mostly record their favorite club covers while peppering their albums with an original song or two, but B & W went out on the limb here, writing all of the songs.
Shunning the familiar, the songwriting is strong, original and with purpose. With Mark Wagner on guitar and vocals, Kevin Martin on bass and Don Dimuccio on drums, this tight trio draws on Rock, R&B, Latin and Surf influences to serve up a variety of musical styles on this eight song romp. The opener, "Mood To Get Rude," is an infectious swing/jump piece that sets the tone for furious fun. Wagner's sweet guitar cries here, while bass and drums create an almost reserved , albeit unyielding, rhythm section that defies the song title. "Can't Win For Losing'' is more melodic and lyrical than a blues tune has a right to be. These guys really can write. In an almost Dylan moment Wagner sings, "don't try it until you knock it." His voice throughout this collection is sure and on the mark. The acousticly flavored, "The Illicit Tale Of Jimmy D" pays homage to the "story" songs that were so popular in the 50's and early 60's. The boys wisely execute their parts with tact and economy.
With such imaginative songwriting and good-time playing, Black & White has joined that ever-dwindling assemblage of bands that have the responsibility, burden and honor of keeping the flame of blues and roots-rock alive.