Monday, May 4, 2009

Fontaine Brown "Tales From The Fence Line"

I should have reviewed this cd several months ago, but maybe late is better than never. This cd is crunchy rock-blues, with really strong vocals and playing. And a great band! Backing Fontaine Brown on vocals, guitar, harmonica and piano--are Jim Brock on drums, Don Dixon on bass, Mitch Easter on guitars, Kelly Ryan on backing vocals and Peter Holsapple on Hammond B-3 and keys. You've heard of all those guys before--those guys are all stars, veterans of making great music. And here they deliver a tight lithe supple sound that supports and carries the songs, all written by Fontaine Brown.

Mr Brown has been writing songs and making music since 1962, and the experience shows--these songs are uniformly tight and loose and fun all at the same time. Things kick off with "Ain't No Brakeman" which sounds like it should have been a hit on college radio back in the mid 80s. Then the title track, a fun blend of mandolin and Hammond B-3 with the vocals floating light. Then "Detroit Saturday" which hangs together around a greasy harp riff and a fat drum thump. Then "Closer To The Flame" a Stax keyboard riff with Wet Willie-style vocals. By now you begin to get the idea--this is a wide melange of styles, rooted around those great vocals and that great band. Special points go to "Lost In The Sensation" which is a sweet ballad in the style of "Bare Trees" era Fleetwood Mac.

There are no great surprises here, but it is a joy to hear this cd. You can get it on Manatee Records, or at

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