Bob Frank’s Band Blue Lunch prowls the musical alleys haunted by the spirits of Bill Doggett, Dave Bartholomew, and the Five Royals, whose “Monkey Hips and Rice” makes for some of the finest moments on this album.
Frank and company remind us why a musical category called “rhythm and blues” exists. While Frank is a first rate songwriter and a champion guitar player, the band’s faithful covers of forgotten R&B classics like Allen Toussaint’s “Mother-In-Law,” Doggett and Illinois Jaquet’s “Doggin’ With Doggett,” Don Robey’s “36-22- 38” – make listening to this album a kick. Frank plays slide on his original “My Baby Knows Lovin’,” but for the most part sticks to straight electric playing with minimal (if any) effects (“Sideswiped”). The horn section, particularly trumpet player Mike Rubin and tenor sax man Keith McKelley, gets plenty of room to groove without affecting the guitar-driven character of the music, with Frank form-fitted in the driver’s seat.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.