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MUSIC | LOCAL ANGLE

Rock, Folk, Blues Spark Releases by Area Artists

September 03, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Here are capsule reviews of CDs released by Valley bands or groups that play in the area.

Dewey Terry, "Pay Back"

This guy is a SoCal rock legend who, as half of Don & Dewey, had a big hit in 1957 with "Leavin' It All Up to You." Terry also wrote such regional hits as "Farmer John" and "Big Boy Pete," and even played in Little Richard's band along with some guitar player named Hendrix. These days, Terry fronts an incendiary blues band. His gritty vocals sound like he swallowed a wolverine--he could probably peel the paint off the walls. This is experienced blues by a guy with a million stories to tell. Terry rages.

GRADE: A-

*

Eleni Kelakos, "I Will Fly" (EEK records)

Kelakos is a folkie-type singer who has written a lot of dumb and dumber relationship songs. Dumb women get involved with even dumber guys, then wonder what happened. From "Nickels and Dimes," a sample line: "The kitchen clock is ticking, and her husband still ain't home, and she prays he hasn't left her 'cause she's scared to be alone. And she'd rather take his drinking, his beatings and his lies than take on all the emptiness that's left behind her eyes." Kelakos goes for Serious Social Commentary.

GRADE: B

Next gig: Friday at Borders in Glendale.

*

Jay E and Easy Street, "Traveling Riverside Blues" (Red Car Records)

Jay's definitely got the old girlfriend blues; not only does she keep calling, but she's calling collect. This is just basic barroom blues that may be a little raggedy around the edges, but that's why they serve beer. The best one here is every slacker's dream date, "Rich Man's Ex-Wife."

GRADE: B

Next gig: Thursday at Smokin' Johnnie's in Studio City.

*

B.J. Sharp, "Never Felt No Blues" (Critique)

This blistering collection of mostly original blues tunes will not only make your liver quiver, but also threaten the longevity of your speakers. Most of the songs deal with the wrong guy at the right time or the right guy at the wrong time and all those ensuing broken hearts and sleepless nights. If we must compare (and you know we must), Etta James comes to mind. The title tune is a rager, and it sets the tone for what follows as guitarists Miles Joseph and Alan Mirikitani keep up with Sharp all the way. No blues singer alive is better than Sharp.

GRADE: A

Next gig: Saturday at Monteleone's West in Tarzana.

*

Shiloh, "Shiloh"

Three-song tape named for the first really bad Civil War battle in April 1862 that produced nearly 24,000 casualties and the realization that the war would be a long one. Not as unpleasant as dodging Minie balls and canister, Shiloh is just another loud, thrashy garage band with little more than a cool name. For band names with Civil War connections, check into Antietam.

GRADE: C-

*

Walter Trout, "Walter Trout" (Platinum Entertainment)

A famous rock star in Europe and "Who's that?" in the States, Trout is about as good as a guitar player can get. Most of his albums are not even available in this country, but fortunately, Trout is. Big, gnarly guitar solos, gritty vocals--this is great rockin' blues. If more blues sounded like this, there would be more blues fans. Crank it up.

GRADE: A

*

Culture, "Trust Me" (Ras)

This is more of that one-song, one-beat, one-week Dreadhead soundtrack wherein these Rasta dudes sing of the Good Stuff: world peace, tolerance and oneness. The drummer and the bass player will never wear themselves out on these relentless yet mellow rockers.

GRADE: B

Next gig: Today at Reseda Country Club.

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