Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC: Ventura County | LOCAL ANGLE

Making Music : Rock, rockabilly and relationships dominate recent CD releases.

July 16, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Here are capsule reviews of the latest CD releases of local bands and groups that play the area with some frequency.

Steve Poltz, "One Left Shoe" (Mercury)

Poltz is former front man for the Rugburns, one of the funniest bands ever. Poltz is also Jewel's pal and co-wrote "You Were Meant for Me." She returned the favor and co-wrote four tunes on this CD. If you like lyrics such as "Wine on the page, heart in a rage, gonna have to call the cops on myself," then Poltz is for you. This is not the Rugburns, but a bunch of introspective love songs from Poltz. Or, according to the artist, "Don't worry, there will be another 'Burns CD in the future. I just wanted to be sensitive, folk-guy Joe and not have anyone die in this batch of songs . . ."

GRADE: A

Next gig: July 23 at the Coach House in Santa Barbara.

*

Stegosaurus, "Stegosaurus" (Reprise)

Jesse Rhodes, who once upon a time was Doug Rhodes, fronted an introspective pop band called the Sleepwalkers from Santa Barbara. Now, hopping aboard the Jurassic theme and naming his band for a dinosaur with a walnut-size brain, Rhodes offers another collection of thoughtful relationship tunes, these with higher production values than previous efforts. Dream gig: Stegosaurus, T-Rex and the Lizard Tongues.

GRADE: C+

*

Fiasco, "Fiasco"

This is a four-song tape of youthful angst and testosterone-laden lullabies about as subtle as a cannonball. The musicianship is no better than by-the-numbers aggression rock.

GRADE: C-

Next gig: Aug. 8 at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

*

Little Jonny & the Giants, "Windin' " (Cornbread Records)

Jon Lawton has been playing guitar for 30 years and he definitely has the slide thing figured out. The former Santa Barbaran (originally from Nebraska) has relocated to the Bay Area where his name probably finds favor among fans of Baker's boys. A couple of Lawton's originals --"Barstool Boogie" and "Tough Luck"--are blazing foot-stompers.

GRADE: A-

Next gig: Saturday at Ash Street Gardens and Olivas Adobe, both in Ventura.

*

Lee Rocker, "No Cats" (Upright Records)

This is the third album by the former bass player for the Stray Cats, a band that reinvented rockabilly in 1980. Rocker has a bunch of guest stars on this one, and he writes most of his own songs, mostly basic American roots rock. Rocker has a pleasing voice, and if you dig his old band, you won't be disappointed with this one.

GRADE: B

Next gig: Friday at Ventura Theatre.

*

Jacob's Ladder, (Filled With Rain)

This is a first-rate acoustic group featuring members from Ventura and Santa Barbara. John Welborn writes all the songs and plays guitar and sings with Lisa Henson, whose vocals can be magical. Bad relationships never sounded so good and "Love Will Always Find a Way Back Home" and "Love Has No Mercy" are most memorable. Deft performances by all.

GRADE: A-

*

The Fixx, "Elemental" (CMC International)

Cy Curnin and the boys have been around for a long time and have amassed a sizable number of moody and elegant Brit pop songs, such as "Secret Separation," "Red Skies" and "Saved by Zero." Nothing on this one, however, would make the cut for a Fixx greatest-hits package.

GRADE: C-

Next gig: Friday at the Coach House in Santa Barbara.

*

John McEuen & the String Wizards, "String Wizard Picks," (Vanguard)

McEuen is mostly known as a banjo player, but he is a master of all things stringed. He calls this instrumental collection Americana, a blend of musical genres, heavy on country and bluegrass. Since he left the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in '87, McEuen has been touring, mesmerizing audiences worldwide.

GRADE: A

Next gig: Saturday at the Ventura Theatre.

*

Doug MacLeod, "Unmarked Road," (Audioquest Music)

MacLeod is a blues man out of L.A. who travels light--just a guy, a guitar and a bunch of original tunes about women he can't have, doesn't want or can't get rid of. MacLeod squeals and squirms, moans and groans, howls and pouts--offering proof that he earned his gray hair.

GRADE: A-

Next gig: Sunday at Ash Street Gardens.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|