AMERICANA HIGHWAYS | REVIEW: Dave Goddess Group’s “Once In A Blue Moon”
With some winsome rugged vocals, the Dave Goddess Group at least gets out of the starting gate with some genuine doses of rock planted in a rootsy soil. With no posturing, yet evocative of some past bands that had success with this formula & respect, Goddess follows the map carefully.
I hear the dynamics of Jimmie Mack, who had 3 excellent LPs in the late 70s. the major-label Eddie & the Tide (Eddie Rice), John Cafferty (Eddie & the Cruisers), and the like. They’re all cut from that Springsteen cloth but with far less Jersey edge.
Dave’s new independent LP Once In a Blue Moon (drops Feb. 28), he provides a solid set of melodies as attractive as a sparkling new jukebox. The performance, — that’s what will attract most ears. The musicians are tight, well-arranged & delightfully proficient.
Ok, they’re not Bruce Springsteen or the late Willy DeVille. Most songs are upbeat, with some darker subjects (“When the Lightnin’ Strikes”) cranked with lots of ballsy aggression. Their melodies are not as pop-clever as Eddie & the Tide, but they are indeed compelling. They do know their boundaries & well-within those boundaries they sparkle like a Simonized black Chevy. No smooth Dion DiMucci vocals, no controversial Graham Parker subjects, or crafty early Elvis Costello. But Dave has that smoky rock voice. If his songs were a little more New York specific — he’d be Willie Nile.
What’s interesting is that he admits that not every song is about him. That’s where his creativity comes. He’s willing to stretch & write about what’s not necessarily personal. “When the Past Caught Up With John Henry Weaving” is a cool story-song with pedal steel (Robbie Bossert) & Goddess harmonica. This is a hat-tip to bare-bones Springsteen Nebraska.
Produced by Dave & engineer Konrad Carelli the 10-track LP was recorded in NY. Dave plays guitar, Mark Buschi (Bass, vocals), Chris Cummings (Drums, percussion, vocals), Tom Brobst (Sax, flute, keys), Gary Gipson (Guitar & vocals) with additional help: Steve Patterson (Keyboards), Corey Purcell (Button accordion), Valerie Borman (vocals) & Robbie Bossert.
Each song was tailored with care & they translate the band’s energy effectively. “All Talk & No Action” has the drive of Eddie & the Tide with its instrumental break sweet as The Del-Lords. They cook on a low flame & it comes to a simmer wonderfully. No showboating, nothing wild & crazy. Just good American rock & roll as it should be.
“Chinatown,” is sculptured like an old classic Jimmie Mack (“On the Ice”). This is when a great bar band with studio chops sings & plays a ballad with all the finesse of pros. Quite impressive. With the addition of accordion (Purcell) on “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” Dave mixes in a cup of the Blasters to a pinch of the rural Band. Quite good.
The 38-minute LP closes out rollicking on “Volunteers,” & sends you off — wanting more.
Available at Amazon and his website: http://www.davegoddessgroup.com/