(c) 2007 Blues-Finland.com
21 June 2007
“Well I play guitar in rock'n'roll bands
N' I'm wasting my life in my Mama's mini-van
I'm in love with the blues, Hank Williams, too
N' I really don't care what's "Who Is Who"…”
(“What’s Who Is Who”, Eric Gebhardt)
|Yes, the red-bearded gentleman from WC Handy’s hometown of Florence, Alabama is back with another album and a new voice. Where his debut release “Blues $1.49 lb” fused Tom Waits and Willie Nelson influences with raw blues and punk rock spirit, the new, Cody Gaisser-produced affair is wilder, bluesier – and more focussed. Frankly, it’s a joy.
Having made his mark as a songwriter on the first album, Eric “Red Mouth” Gebhardt now reinvents himself as a performer – and it’s not as a singer of country waltzes, I’m glad to report. Yes, the Nelson-soundalike stuff is still there (“Shed No Tears”, “Hearts On Loan”, “Wasted Heart”, “Hunger Tree”), but Red seems happier and more at ease on the “other” songs, mixing Jim Morrison mannerisms with raw country blues, the madness of “Teenage Head”-era Flamin’ Groovies with late ‘70’s psychedelia… In my honest opinion, this 65-minute album might actually have benefited from the exclusion of the four country & western tunes that tend to recall a certain episode from the Blues Brothers, but… The rest is downright groovy!
The four tracks that form the essential, inspirational core of “Sir Red Mouth” are: “Even My Momma Told Me Lies”, “What’s Who Is Who”, the latter’s reprise “When the Devil Comes”, and “Otherside Of the World”. While one could certainly point out influences and similarities here, too, this is all new music, the original Sir Red Mouth at his very best. Finishing an acoustic blues tune with a long, funky electric jam and introducing toy pianos to the effect of 1960’s French pop are just a few of the daredevil antics Gebhardt pulls – and he gets away with them all!
Local legend Max Russell shines with his 1929 National on “Muldoon Coldwater”, Bryan Farris provides fine lead guitar on “Same Size Shoe” against an organ backing that echoes the sound of Dylan and the Band – before the Band became the Band, that is. What else? Well, there’s the a capella opener “See What My Life Has Shown” (think Doors in the desert), the 1970’s Stones/Flamin’ Groovies rock of “Dirty Needles”, “Never Been No School Boy”, and “Just Like You”, the frantic early Pretty Things buzz on “Meat Hooked Baby”, and the Tom-Waits-meets-British-Blues-of-1962 low-down enthusiasm of “Shooting For the Stars” and “I Really Want To Hang Out With You”.
Fine songs from Mr. Gebhardt, invenvtive production from Mr. Gaisser, great playing and fantastic feel from everybody involved. Recommended.
Eric Gebhardt: Sir Red Mouth. Independent, 2007
Eric Gebhardt (guitars, lapsteel, banjo, upright bass, drums, vocals), Cody Gaisser (guitars, lapsteel, upright bass, electric bass, toy pianos, harp, backing vocals, handbell, keyboard, drums, percussion), Bryan Farris (lead guitar on tracks 7, 11, 12), Max Russell (National Steel on track 10), Mary Mason (backing vocals), Kevin Sledge, Ashley Simmons (bass), JD McCorkel, Todd Manley (drums), Rick Mitchell (keys), Tyler Hannon (harp)
Producers: Eric Gebhardt & Cody Gaisser
Links: RedMouth.net, Red Mouth MySpace