Delicious dozen of barely bridled rhythm-and-blues from British ivories-tinkler and his posse of merry gentlemen.
This sort of music has rarely made it onto record since the era when Money and Fame – Zoot and Georgie, that is – roamed the barroom circuit; only Nick Steed, whose piano upped the gusto on NORMAN BEAKER BAND’s "We See Us Later" in 2017, doesn’t really care about a period flavor, charging instead for the sheer passionate pleasure. With his chosen genre, it’s all down-to-earth, of course, albeit not mundane, so while reveries are well-grounded here, the group’s panache is on the loose, and collective delivery matches the songs’ subject perfectly.
The slow, lyrical uplift under “I’m On A Roll” may sum up the twelve cuts in quite spiritual terms, but not before the funky stumble in “Cas It Is What It Is” and “Who’s To Blame?” – which can be seen as tasty excuses for the album’s flawed elegance yet, actually is the album’s grace – has prepared the listener for some sweet assault. There’s also the brass-smeared irony of “Supercar Loan” where slider caresses Steed’s purring organ and unpretentious voice detailing the toils and troubles of a hard-working dreamer until piano skittles enter the playful frame to unhurriedly drive “Boom Baby Boom” to delirium. Yes, the drift is that funny, if not without an occasional sad twist.
Slowing down the pace to get emotional on “Take Your Time” and let Hammond roar like a thunderstorm, and filling the title track with honeyed soul, the ensemble go bleary-eyed on “Cryin’ For You” and “Just Singin’ The Blues” to display their command of traditional idiom. They take care of temperature balance, too: the quintet wrap the Beaker-abetted shuffle of “Cold Heated Woman” and the boogie of “Hot Shot Lady” in a rave-up, Nick’s running for a romp, and apply a heavy swagger to “In The Room” – the result being a blissful wigout which should linger on-stage for a long, long time. That’s the only period Steed cares about in order to spice it up and rip the joint – once on the roll, there’s no stopping the artist.