The Texas Horns
Everybody Let’s Roll
Blue Heart Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
Release Date: August 19, 2022
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © August 2022
Given the number of artists with whom The Texas Horns have performed, it’s only natural that there’d be an abundance of those maestros joining them on Everybody Let’s Roll. That said, those special guests – or if I may, with pretty much all of them being homies – those special “Texas” guests joining Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff on tenor saxophone, harmonica and vocals; John Mills on baritone saxophone; and Al Gomez on trumpet and flugelhorn; include (in order of appearance): Carolyn Wonderland on lead and backup vocals; Anson Funderburgh on lead guitar; Mike Keller on rhythm guitar; Sean Giddings on keys; Chris Marsh on bass; Tom Brechtlein on drums; Mike Zito on vocals; Johnny Moeller on guitar; Matt Hubbard on keys; Chris Maresh on bass; Tommy Taylor on drums; Michael Cross on lead vocals; Guy Forsyth on lead and backup vocals; Brannen Temple on drums and percussion; Jimmie Vaughan on vocals and guitar; Mike Flanigin on B-3 organ; Jason Corbiere on drums; Carmen Bradford on vocals; Marcia Ball on keys; and The Dirty Old Men on backup vocals. Wow, right?
Everybody Let’s Roll is the third release from The Texas Horns and of its thirteen tracks, eleven are band originals. With so many featured artists on each of them, I’m going to do my best to try and tell you about at least one track featuring each of them. Here ya go…
The opening and title track – “Everybody Let’s Roll” – kicks off with Carolyn Wonderland loudly, proudly – and wonderfully, of course – announcing “We are The Texas Horns, coming to play your town. Got a song just for you, so come on gather around. We’re gonna play the blues, let’s all have some fun. We’ve got nothing to lose, let’s all get it done”. And from that point on, it indeed gets done! In addition to the excellent rhythm coming from Mike, Sean, Chris and Tom, on the guitar, keys, bass and drums – “The Horns”, of course take center stage led by powerful sax and trumpet leads; and on the first of his three appearances, Anson’s doing what Anson does on lead guitar – crushing it.
Although just about the whole band has changed, the dynamic sound certainly has not. With Kaz, John and Al blowin’ the hell out of those horns, “Why It Always Gotta Be This Way” features Matt, Chris and Tommy creating the rest of the powerful rhythm on organ, bass and drums; fabulous guitar leads from the Fabulous Thunderbirder himself, Johnny Moeller; and a man who has successfully overcome some of it himself, the dynamite Mike Zito telling a tale about some hard luck.
“I Ain’t Mad With You” is the first of a handful of instrumentals and even though it doesn’t feature anyone I haven’t already mentioned, I just gotta tell you about it. Simply said, this smoker finds guitarist Johnny Moeller, pianist Matt Hubbard, bassist Chris Maresh, drummer Tommy Taylor, along with Kaz, Jon and Al, all at disc’s best. I’m thinking that if there were a rehearsal for this one, The Texas Horns may have very well told everyone “just grab your instruments and go nuts”. Wow!
Got any thoughts on where “Alligator Gumbo” might be taking us? Of course you do, and of course you’re right. On his only time behind the kit, it’s Tom Brechtlein laying down the beat for dancin’ in the street…Bourbon Street to be exact. Additionally, on his only time at the mic, it’s Michael Cross belting out the deliciously exciting vocals that are sure to whet your appetite – for partying and eating.
Every so often I’ll hear a guest female vocalist (yes, I’m a big fan of the ladies of song) that I’ve not yet heard of, belting the hell out of the vocals on an album, and she’ll stop me in my tracks and send me Googling. “Watcha Got To Lose” is one of those times and Texas Jazz singer Carmen Bradford is that woman. Wow! Think of all the catch phrases and qualities you’d use to describe a masterful vocal performance and there you have her. Of course, the rhythm and horns are all over this and Kaz is blowing heat not just from the sax but from the harmonica as well. Great stuff right here.
Texas blues already has a place on the many regional blues lists but I doubt you’d ever find the state on a search of “areas famous for soul and R&B” music. However, don’t tell that to The Texas Horns and the rest of the players on this disc – especially those performing on “Prisoner In Paradise”. With some of the disc’s best trumpet and tenor sax leads and the usual impeccable rhythm backing him up, Guy Forsyth is singing his heart out on some of the disc’s most soulful vocals.
Kaz is ready, and according to him, “If your baby has left you, if your dog has died, or if your luck has run out and you’ve nothing else to lose”, then you too are “Ready For the Blues Tonight”. On a smoker he penned, while showcasing his quite competent vocal skills, we actually get to enjoy a part of Kaz we rarely do. Of course, having Marcia Ball banging out her signature boogie-woogie style on the piano was quite another treat as well.
The disc closes out with a swinging dance floor filling cover of J.B. Lenoir’s classic titled “J.B.’s Rock”. On this instrumental featuring Jimmie Vaughan and Mike Flanigin, you are indeed in for a treat with lots of smoking guitar and B3 organ highlights. Add to that the horns and the rest of the rhythm section in all out jam mode; and a whole lot of hand clapping and “oh yeahs”; and you’ve now got a red-hot dance party goin’ on.
Other tracks on Everybody Let’s Roll – an album you should probably expect to see on every 2023 awards ballot – include: “Die With My Blues On”; “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (Lennon & McCartney); “Too Far Gone”; “Apocalypso”; and “The Big Lie”.
To find out more about The Texas Horns, just go to – www.thetexashorns.com. Remember, whomever you contact, please tell them their friend the Blewzzman sent you.
“The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy“
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient