Tuesday, February 9, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: MR. RICK - SINGS ABOUT GOD + BOOZE
Some good ol' fun, in the good ol' ways: acoustic blues, western swing, honky-tonk, jug band, jazz and lots of gospel. Mr. Rick is very familiar with Mr. Wills (Bob), Mr. Williams (Hank), Mr. Ledbetter (Huddie), Ms. Carter (Maybelle), and Mr. Beam (Jim).
In case you missed the plan, it's spelled out plainly in the title. You have the twin pillars of good and evil, salvation and that old demon, alcohol. Using a collection of old favourites and traditional numbers that were the staple of '40's and '50's performers, you'll hear about the healing powers of heaven, or the sinful fun of the bottle. There's Champagne Don't Hurt Me, done here in a Rick Von Schmidt arrangement, making booze sound fabulous. Then there's the fire and brimstone fear of God found in Death Come In My Room, an old Southern spiritual that makes you hope He didn't seen all those stops at the liquor store. Detroit-bred, Toronto-based Rick nimbly finger-picks his way through it all, with fiddle, clarinet and a largely-acoustic cast grinning along.
As Mr. Rick points out, there's a great big philosophic discussion to have about these topics, their relationship and the era in which they were first popularized. That's not what he wants to do though, save it for Sunday school and musicology class. He just wants to enjoy it all, and let others choose sides in the battle between the Bible and the Bottle.