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Album Review

MOJO MONKEYS
Blessings & curses

It's an anomaly on Blessings & Curses, but I love it. The light, rolling jazz bass and muted trumpet with beatnik percussion beneath Ken Nordine meets Flash & the Pan vocals. Next to the last track on the album, Our Curse whispers what-the-hell after eleven solid bar tracks, from straight ahead rock 'n roll to demented and dirty country blues to what could almost pass as modern country but is too damn good to be called that. I mean, sheee-ittt! What rock did these guys crawl out from under? They are part Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, part Road Kings, part Little Feat and part The Morells with roots as deep as they come--- and I dig it! Throw in some Texas soul a la The Juke Jumpers, ZZ Top and early Fabulous Thunderbirds, some juju (both good and bad) and a little Jack Daniels to keep things loose and you have the music of Mojo Monkeys, three much sought-after musicians who look like they just stepped off the set of The Last Rites of Ransom Pride (so, who did kill the dwarf?) or maybe just stepped on.

What can they do? Anything and everything, evidently. From the cross between Modern Country and Tom Petty (She'll Be Alright) to N'Orleans rock 'n roll (Bodacious) to R&B hybrid (Enough) to slinky and smooth (Can't Say No) to off-the-edge acoustic dementia (Monkeythumb). You might think that would be a negative, these abrupt changes in style, but Mojo Monkeys are good enough to make it work. In fact, when they play, it seems effortless--- like it is instinct--- the rhythms and chords a cauldron of good (and sometimes eerie) vibes. Listening to them is like waiting for good barbeque.

There are a handful of bands I would kill to see live--- Bright Giant, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, Old Californio, The Beige, just to name a few. Mojo Monkeys jumped to the top of the list after one listen. No doubt they can make a tavern bounce and an arena rock and, boy, would they be fun! Thing is, I'd more than likely have to fight musicians for good seats because the good ones want to see the real deal up close and personal and these guys are the real deal.

No real need to say anything more. You don't want to take a few minutes to check these guys out, you lose. Simple as that.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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