Friday, December 14, 2012

The No Refund Band -- "The No Refund Band"

This is the debut recording for the No Refund Band, but don't confuse that with inexperience. Collectively, the band members have toured and recorded full time for multiple decades. The No Refund Band was formed in 2007 by guitarist Mike Crownover and they had some success, especially around Dallas/Fort Worth. But they really found magic in a bottle 2 years ago when Ricky Jackson (vocals, lead guitar) and Rik Robertson (bass) joined forces. In 2010 those three connected with Anthony Terry (sax) Diamond Jim Brady (trumpet) and Walter Cross (drums), and the No Refund Band was underway.
Special guest on this cd is Tommie Lee Bradley, and you can't call what she adds "background vocals"--she has never been in anybody's background.

The No Refund Band members have strong songwriting abilities in addition to instrumental prowess. Of the 12 songs on this cd, six are written either by Ricky Jackson and/or Jackson-Crownover-Robertson. The remaining six are covers. The originals are good. I especially like "Come Down Slow," "Top Side" and "Got Whiskey"--those three would fit in any playlist anywhere for any occasion. And the covers are strong and interesting--they range from the classic blues standard "Blues Is My Business" through "MacCartney-Lennon's "Eleanor Rigby," done in a fresh blues arrangement, to Warren Haynes "Soulshine," which seems like a natural for Terry's sax and strong sweet vocals by both Jackson and Bradley, and Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain" including the original "Spain Prelude," and a burning "Willie The Wimp," which features an all too rare trumpet solo by Jim Brady. On the cover of my copy of this cd I wrote in sharpie: "All are fine for airplay."

The blues sometimes can get a bit stale. There's a lot of follow-the-leader stylings, and all too often a kind of paint-by-numbers approach. Only rarely do bands feature both top-notch musicianship and risky arrangements. The No Refund Band is a breath of fresh air, a band that can bring the goods and always come across as interesting and thoughtful. Texas Blues at their very best.    

You can buy this cd at

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