“Baby Please (Don’t Go)” is smooth and beautifully produced R&B that one would find populating the Top 40 in the 1960s, respectful of its roots and bringing that classic sound into 2016. Recorded in November of 2014 at Big T Productions in Quincy, Jeff Shwom’s vocal is an everyman pleading, not Arthur Conley or James Brown shouting please…please…please, not Levon Helm re-working Marvin Gaye’s “Baby, Don’t You Do It” (which Levon truncated to “Don’t Do It,” ) Hot Sauce brew their blues sauce for a newer generation.
The same formula works with “French Perfume Blues,” where vocalist Shwom takes it from an American perspective on Bryan Ferry’s first solo work on cover songs from his early Roxy Music days. Not spoken word, but not wailing in pain, more like just devastated by love and stuck in the mood that makes for that bluesy feeling. “Shake It Up!” may be the title of a Cars song and album, but this is more like J Geils with Cory Magno’s squawking guitar and the general mayhem of the band condensed into a fun stomp. In 1973 the final studio album from Rod Stewart and the Faces Ooh La La, landed in the stores the year that Ian Lloyd and Stories’ Blue-eyed-Soul reigned supreme on the charts with “Brother Louie.” In 2016, 43 years later, Hot Sauce give us a similar title – “Oo La La” – drenched in a laid-back style trumpeter Hugh Masekela keeps alive, perhaps if Masekela’s usual tempo was slowed down with backing from Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues Band. At 3:25 it is short and sweet and despite the 70s motif noted above, it also harkens back to the 60s.
The instrumental “Tribute to Mr. McGriff” grooves like the Hot Sauce Thursday night colleagues at Cambridge’s Cantab Lounge, Chicken Slacks Soul Revue. It’s a good showcase for the double trouble of Fabricio Bezerra’s saxophone and CD co-producer Cory Magno’s guitar. Closing track #6, “Jimmy Lou,” drives well thanks to the magnificent Lee Lundy’s bass and Osi Brathwaite’s drums. Lundy is a staple in multiple bands at the Cantab and is quickly becoming a legend on the local scene.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.