(New Orleans' & Louisiana's Music Magazine)
by Robert Fontenot
It's not easy to swing the blues these days, what with the constant
temptation to cheese it up, turn it into a swing cartoon, the Swing
Room at Graceland. (Brian Setzer, stand up.)
Klarskov will have none of that; he's erased the fine line between
blues and swing more thoroughly than anyone else in his generation.
Remembering to move the bottom without taking the heart off the
top. Even better, he's holding the twin guns of modern blues relevancy:
great taste in covers AND a sometimes unique personal take on the
genre. In the first category, we have Champion Jack Dupree's "Bad
Blood Mama," T-Bone Walker's "Lonesome Woman Blues"
and "Whoo Wee Baby" by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
On the personal front, Klarskov attacks rarely-visited blues themes
like disease ("Cancer Blues") and love gone good ("Being
And on the title track, he takes his cue from James Fraher's book
and discusses why he can't help but play the music he does.
there's one problem with this CD, it's Dan's vocals, which,
two albums out, remain tentative and weak. And although Dan's pushing
the envelope thematically, his lyrics still tend to fall back
a little too often on clichés. But he's honest, dammit, and
that ought to count for something these days. Besides, the band
more than makes up for it, with Klarskov's guitar, Peter Lapiki's
keys, and the excellent brass section happily fighting for supremacy
over the mooth, authentically jazzy glide of the rhythm section.
Not to mention that evocative guest flute skittering nervously
over "Cancer Blues." And did we mention the whole band
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Dan Klarskov 1998-2001.
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