“Hot Coffee And Pain”
Blue Heart Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © July 2020
“Hot Coffee And Pain” is the second release for Crooked Eye Tommy, and their first on Blue Heart Records, a division of Nola Blue, Inc. The band centers around the Brothers Marsh – Tommy (the one with the crooked eye, of course) and Paddy – two extremely talented guitarists, vocalists and songwriters. The pair perform as a duo – as they did when they made it to the finals at the 2020 International Blues Challenge, or with a full band – as they did in an earlier IBC and on both releases.
For “Hot Coffee And Pain”, the Marsh brothers are joined by: Samuel Corea on bass guitar; Charlie McClure on drums; Craig Williams on Saxophone; Jimmy Calire on Hammond B3 and horn arrangements; and Teresa James on vocals and piano. Of the disc’s nine tracks, three are penned by each of the brothers with the other three being covers.
If there were a dictionary that gave definitions by playing music, “Sitting In The Driveway” could easily be one of the songs you might hear playing when you looked up the meaning of “slow blues”. The track, one of which Paddy wrote and sings, defines it to a T! Anytime you use two sixty second scorching guitar leads to sandwich gut wrenching vocals that address the difficulty involved with climbing that “twelve step” staircase – all while your rhythm section is right there with you – you’re pretty much performing slow blues at its very best. With so much more ahead, I’m making the call early – this could very well be the disc’s best track.
On the title track, one in which he wrote and sings, Tommy is not at all enjoying his painful breakfast of “Hot Coffee And Pain”. Sadly, with this being just the first morning following his woman having left him after many long years, it’s apparent this is a breakfast he’ll soon be acquiring a taste for. This is one of about half-a-dozen of the tracks that feature the fabulous horn and Hammond work, and we all know what happens when you take a real good band and add a horn and a keyboard, right?
In addition to it being so soulful, the mood the horn sets on this tracks opening is so defining that you can’t help to know that as they climax, some very heartfelt and emotional vocals are about to follow. Then BAM! It just doesn’t happen once, it happens twice. On this duet with the truly amazing Teresa James, as he questions his lady about being out all night, Tommy’s the first to ask “Baby Where You Been?”. Her response, in wanting to know why he’s never been there for her through most of the relationship is an identical “Baby Where You Been”. Everything about this song screams powerful: the horns, the vocals, the lyrics, the rhythm, Tommy’s killer guitar licks throughout, and most importantly, the story being told. It would not surprise me one bit if this original grabs Tommy Marsh a “Song of the Year” nod.
It won’t take but a few notes of this one before you feel the Allman Brothers vibe. It’s an instrumental of Tommy’s titled “The Big House”, which just happens to be the name of the estate that was populated by the village like clan associated with the original Allman Brothers Band. The track is highlighted by extraordinary tandem guitar work from the brothers Marsh; some of the disc’s best rhythm with Samuel and Charlie at disc’s best; and a few hot blasts from Craig on the tenor sax.
Going with the always leave them wanting more theory, closing out the disc with a track that features all six members of the band being on top of their games is the way to do it. That said, that’s exactly what’s taking place on the bands rendition of Sonny Landreth’s “Congo Square”. With Tommy singing the hell out of the song and Paddy crushing the hell out of the guitar leads the rest of guys are burning the place down behind them. Smokin’ stuff!
Other tracks on “Hot Coffee And Pain”, an album that is highly capable of leading Crooked Eye Tommy into the forces to be reckoned with arena, are: “Death Letter Blues” (Eddie J. House); two more of Paddy’s – “Twist The Sky” & “The Time It Takes To Live”; and “Angel Of Mercy” (Bruce Bertness McCabe);
To find out more about Crooked Eye Tommy just go to – www.crookedeyetommy.com Additionally, I’m pretty sure you’ll find a visit to the label to be cool as well, so check out www.blueheartrecords.com. Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them that their friend the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient