Frank Morey with Scott Pittman & Joe Faria

Frank Morey with Scott Pittman & Joe Faria
The Delmark Sessions


By T Charles
November 2006

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Since getting an iPod about a year ago, I hardly ever listen to a whole album by any artist any more. Part of the reason is that most have just two or three good songs. This one however, returns me to listening to - and really enjoying - a whole album by one artist. These guys would easily make a party with their repertoire. Frank Morey plays guitar, harp and vocals, and is joined by Joe “Tubb” Faria on upright bass and Scott Pittman on drums. This trio is joined by Rick “Cookin’” Sherry on harmonica for two songs, and clarinet on one song.

The Delmark Sesions is immediately one of my favorites, blues or otherwise. It is one of the few albums produced today that you will enjoy the first time you hear it. In addition to the quality listening experience, there is also quantity - 20 songs on this disc, with 19 of them originals.

For those who want to know influences, Frank and the guys may remind you of George Thorogood, Tom Waits, Howlin’ Wolf, Taj Mahal, and John Hammond. With its themes of mortality, the devil, bad luck with women, Saturday night, booze and cocaine, Morey’s lyrics raise as many questions as they answer—just like reality.

Morey has a unique guttural rasp that changes enough from song to song so as to keep the new story fresh. With some artists, there is a problem with sameness throughout the album. Not this one. Morey turns up the boogie meter for many of the songs such as “New Orleans.” The next song, “Let it Roll” keeps the vibe going, with a little humor. While talking with a preacher during the song, Morey tells the preacher that he, “ain’t sinning anymore,” and the preacher replies with, “you ain’t sinning any less!”

“Barmaid” and “Uncle Lefty’s Lament” have a steady, catchy feel that keep the toe tapping and the head bobbing. Try to sit still to “Blame it On the Devil” or “Lorraine” – it can’t be done. Morey shows his style agility by singing soulfully on slow songs such as “Murder bound,” “Saturday Night,” “Baby, Don’t Leave a Light On,” and “Hey, Hey Baby.” They come back to Saturday night on “Moonlight (on a Cloudy Saturday Night),” in which Morey sounds like the town drunk. “Goin’ Down Kickin’” would be great as a singalong in a bar (and probably already has.)

The sequence of songs on the disc is one of the many reasons you will probably enjoy listening to the whole thing. Morey and the guys tend to find a kind of groove for a couple of songs, then change gears. Like a crafty pitcher, they fire a couple at one speed, and then throw a change up, slow and inside. But unlike the frustration a batter feels when he is “faked out,” the change-ups on this disc help you to easily find the many “sweet spots” on it. Enjoy!

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