Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps
Rose-Colored Glasses Vol. 2
Blue Heart Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © September 2023
It’s always cool when you listen to a release filled with great music and the words “Vol. 1” appear in its title. That pretty much tells you that more of what you’re enjoying will one day be on its way. That said, exactly two years ago to the month, with the release of Rose-Colored Glasses Vol. 2 from Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, that day has arrived.
Along with some long-time Rhythm Tramps, Vol. 2 features a few returning members from the Vol. 1 ensemble and some other special guests as well. Those responsible for this fabulous music are: Teresa James, of course, on lead and background vocals, piano and Wurlitzer; long time band mate, life mate and co-producer, Terry Wilson on bass, percussion, B3, Clavinet, rhythm guitar and background vocals; Billy Watts on lead guitar; Brannen Temple and Richard Millsap on drums and percussion; Tony Braunagel, Herman Matthews and Jay Bellerose on drums; Kevin McKendree on piano; Bennett Salvay on B3; Vince Melamed on keys; Matthew Quave on strings; Gregg Sutton on guitars and background vocals; Paulie Cerra on sax; and Matt Lomeo on harmonica. With eleven penned by Terry and/or Terry and Teresa, and one penned by bandmates Gregg Sutton and Vince Melamed, all of the twelve tracks on Rose-Colored Glasses Vol 2 are originals.
The opening track, titled “I’d Do It For You”, features exactly four artists but if you listen closely, you’ll hear at least twice that many instruments. As a matter of fact, combining his bass and percussion work with the many different sounds he’s creating on the B3, Terry Wilson sounds like at least six himself. Add to that Brannen Temple, on drums and some of his own percussion as well, and you now have the largest two-piece rhythm section ever assembled. As good as it is, all that smokin’ rhythm needs is a few smokin’ guitar runs and Billy Watts is all over those. Then there’s the boss lady laying down her patented sultry and always soulful vocals. Using lines like…
“I wouldn’t do it for money, but I’d do it for love”
“I’d wake up early in the morning and bring you breakfast in bed, stay up all night long just to hear what you said”
“If you ever get sick I’d cure your ills, I’d bring you medication and take care of all your bills”
“I’d do it for you!”
Teresa is putting together a nice resume as ‘a keeper’.
It is pretty hard to wonder if someone you know was born in a different era would still be in the same profession or not, especially with the way technology has changed over the decades. That said, give one listen to “The Idea Of You” (Gregg Sutton & Vince Melamed) and I think you’ll agree with me that had Teresa been born one hundred years ago, come the nineteen forties and fifties, she’d be singing to sold out jazz clubs all around the country. Regardless of the era she was born in, Teresa James was born to sing. Musically, the soft and soulful ballad features Tony Braunagel (drums) and Terry (bass) in a hushed rhythm vibe; ditto for the songs composers, Gregg (guitar) and Vince (keys); and Matthew Quave, on his only appearance, giving the song its pulse with an absolutely beautiful performance on the strings.
When a woman alluringly tells you “I want to get to know you better. I want to get to know what it’s like to get to hold you all night and squeeze you just right”, “That’s What I’m Talking About”. Actually, that’s what Teresa is talking about on another song that has me thinking what a lucky guy Terry is. Along with the usual great rhythm, Billy and Paulie put on a fabulous mid-song run where the guitar lead perfectly melds into the sax lead. Another great track.
Continuing with the feel good, love song vibe, Teresa proudly claims “I Don’t Need Another Reason To Fall In Love”. From there she segues into several flattering similes about why her man is enough. Just like Terry being a lucky guy, Teresa’s apparently a lucky lady as well. With Kevin on the piano and Bennett on the B3, it’s the keyboards lighting this one up.
“The Heart Wants What It Wants” is another wonderfully written, wonderfully sung and wonderfully performed love song. With a relaxed and laid-back rhythm – featuring Jay on drums and Terry on bass, guitar and keys – behind her, Teresa totally shines on this one.
As she so often does, Teresa is once again making herself totally irresistible. Should you be looking for a “Brand New Flame” she’ll confidently tell you “I’m a hot one”. And although she doesn’t want to have your kid, she’s certainly up for doing some practicing… if you get my drift. This one has Richard on the drums, hooking up with Terry on the bass, for a different rendition of the always strong rhythm; and with Terry on clavinet, Teresa on piano, and Bennett on the B3, it is indeed another keyboard forward production.
Other tracks on another fabulous effort from Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps include: “Better Angels”; “Lean On Love”; “Flip Flop”; “Ain’t Nothing For Certain”; “Just Don’t Think About It”; and “Second Chances”.
To find out more about Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps just go to: www.teresajames.com. Remember, whomever you contact, please let them know The Blewzzman sent you and that he’s hoping there’ll be a Rose-Colored Glasses Vol. 3.
“The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy”
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient