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Nick Curran and the Nightlifes – Player!

Player!
 
Player!

I enjoyed Nick’s first effort and was quite excited to hear this followup. And I wasn’t disappointed. You’ve got to love a guy who mixes T-Bone Walker, Little Richard, and everything in between, wears a fur coat on his CD cover, and is never without perfectly slicked back hair and sunglasses. Of course, it also helps that the 14 cuts here contain every bit as much cool as the image and influences.

Lest you think Nick a poser, know that he understands the blues of the West Coast and the rock of the ’50s about as well as anyone I’ve heard in a while. His clean, T-Bone-style chops highlight the swing of “Honey Bee,” while the instrumental “The Groovy Jam” lets him mess around a bit on the six-string. By the time he’s done, you know he’s not afraid to step outside the typical guitar clichés. If you do like it in the pocket, with flair, give a listen to “Down Boy Down.” Nick’s solo carries the day on this stompin’ West Coast blues.

While Nick proves time and again he can play his instrument, it’s the vocals that grab you by the throat. He’s a shouter in the Little Richard vein on songs like the title cut and “Heeby Jeebies.” He can sing a love song like “What About Love” and make the girls swoon. Check out his growl on the menacing blues of “Evenin’.”

There’s nice help throughout the record, especially from Kim Wilson, who plays harmonica on three cuts. You gotta love this stuff. It’s easy to see why Nick is winning W.C. Handy Awards. He’s the real deal.



This article originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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