Mad Men Blues

"Alligator Blues 2009"

A new CD from Mad Man Blues is always enough reason to be cheerful. Even Ian Dury would have signed this statement. A few weeks ago, this new collection of songs has landed in my letterbox. As I've already mentioned somewhere, I'm always a bit nervous when I get an album from a band that I very much like. That question always is, can they meet the high expectations, that come naturally because of their previous output. Of all the current bands I'd like to name only Doctor's Order. But fear not, Mad Men Blues pull it off quite nicely and "Alligator Blues 2009" sits nicely in line with their other two CDs.

Please read elsewhere in this section ("recommended listening") what I had to say about their earlier releases and about the band and their music in general. What we get here, is more of the same. This is not disrespectful, but rather a trademark of quality. The band is as tight as always and the singer gives more than a twist to the overall sound of Mad Men Blues. Although I have to mention, in my opinion, he's taken himself a little bit back from earlier recordings. It's still right in the face, but you get the feeling, Pit Ryan has toned down a little. And I mean just a little. The vocals are first rate and very entertaining. It just clicks. Of course, the band is spot on and leaves nothing to be desired. I like it, the way they work through these ten tracks. Full marks!

What you get here, are ten tracks, nine of which are cover versions. But this is not your 08/15 cover stuff. You've never heard these very entertaining slices of music in quite such a way. Always rocking and swinging, never dull and boring, but highly enjoyable. And if the band says "play it loud at low volume!", I somehow think, they mean it. Because, I believe this is one of the few CDs you'll buy, that you actually listen to. And by "actually listen to" I mean, not just run it through as background music when you are in the kitchen, but a half hour away from the crazyness of this world. The tracks:

1) King Bee
2) It's Over
3) Don't Be Cruel
4) Educated Fool
5) A Hard Way To Go
6) Proud Mary
7) Need Me A Car
8) No si scjampe dal blues
9) See You Later Alligator
10) Rainy Day Women
11) ??? (Whatever this is, hidden track, bonus, I don't get it)

I've got some explanations from the band to the way the songs were done, but I believe you're better off just listening to the tracks and immerse yourself in the Mad Men Blues world. My own (with some band information thrown in) observations on a few tracks: "Don't Be Cruel" lets you forget this ever was a Elvis Presley recording. The old chestnut is being transferred into a whole other stratosphere. Naturally, a song like "Educated Fool" is being compared on these pages to the Dr. Feelgood version and not the original. The piano solo has been substituted with a harp and the band does Dr. Feelgood proud. No complaints on this end. The sole original, although I hesitate to write this, the tracks are all "original" somehow, is sung in a local idiom called "Friulian". Mad Men Blues even get something out of otherwise "played to death" songs like "Proud Mary". Just listen to their take (via a Ducks DeLuxe version). 

One of the bigger surprises for me is their take on "See You Later Alligator". I'm being told, that this is actually a midi-file and the only human made sound is the voice. It's amazing what these midi-files can be used for. I was almost certain, that this is a dead end these days, especially since the limits are very strict on what you can do with it. And usually ist sounds cheap no end, but even this has been brought up a notch or two. Of course, now, that I know of this, I can hear where this originates from. 

You can order the CD from Roberto (see below address and e-mail). Do yourself the favour, start 2010 with a class album, that you will listen to many times in the future. Thanks for supporting the band. I appreciate this very much.

Roberto Pettarini
Via Gramsei, 3
3304 Corno di Rosazzo(Udine)