Saturday, March 1, 2014

Vintage Trouble - The Bomb Shelter Sessions Encore Edition

I'm going to break almost every writer guideline at The Ripple Effect with this review. Vintage Trouble did not produce a lost classic, although every Blues and Soul track they release sounds like one. In fact, the band has only released one full length album, the 2011 The Bomb Shelter Sessions (and a 2013 reissue called the “Encore Edition” that includes some live extras) and a handful of singles. The band certainly is not unheralded. They have opened for The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Cranberries, Joss Stone, Brian May, Bon Jovi and Lenny Kravitz, and have appeared on America's Got Talent, The Late Show and The Tonight Show.  In 2011 the album was named one of the "Top 25 Guitar Albums of The Year" by Total Guitar Magazine.  However, they do provide one commodity that falls right in with The Ripple Effect writer rules - Vintage Trouble provides the best 1960's infused juke joint music you're not listening to.

The band is fronted by vocalist Ty Taylor who evokes memories of Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King, Otis Redding and James Brown. Taylor's long time friend, Swedish born guitarist Nalle Colt, is an electric Les Paul blues guitar master influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.  Bassist Rick Barrio Dill has been playing with Taylor since at least 2008 when Taylor tried to become the next INXS singer during the ill-fated INXS lead singer search television show.  Drummer Richard Danielson is absolutely spot on the beat with just the right amount of flash. The band backs Taylor with the beauty and precision found in classic Booker T & the MG's. 

The Bomb Shelter Sessions has a deliciously stripped-down sound, what Danielson calls "primitive soul." It is exactly that. The vocals have that smooth, laid back, sweet mother of God coolness of doo wop at its best backed by the world's finest juke joint band.  Vintage Trouble has essentially captured 1960's Stax and Motown, modernized it, and repackaged it for a 21st Century audience.

From the start of the album, with Taylor belting out "Blues Hand Me Down" over Danielson's soulful syncopated beat, to the thirteenth and final track of the encore re-release, a live version of a Chuck Berry inspired rocker, "Nancy Lee,"  Vintage Trouble transports listeners to a full blown 1960's dance party.   The songs are incredibly well-written efforts by the band and focus on lust, love and liquor.

As good as this debut album is it fails to capture the completely passionate experience of a live Vintage Trouble performance. From what I have observed, and have been told, Vintage Trouble live goes beyond anything the band has captured in 1's and O's.  If they are ever able to digitally capture that mojo on a release, watch out. As Taylor sings in "Blues Hand Me Down": 

I come from vintage trouble
Look out if I’m the one you found
I’ll pop your bubble
With my live wire, straight shooting dirty mouth
Papa was a blues man
Please baby understand
I got the, got the, got the, got the
Blue hand me downs
 - Old School

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