Nick Curran and the Nitelifes – Doctor Velvet

Doctor Velvet

You know how some records just ooze fun? That’d be this one.

Nick and his group mix jump blues, boogie, and greasy rock and roll into a perfect stew. And throughout the affair, Nick has a guitar sound that fits everything perfectly. Nice and dirty, but not too dirty. It breaks up, but just to the point that sounds perfect. Yup, just like in the old days.

The opening/title cut is a prime example; good old R&B with a nice helping of big-box guitar. And the sound is to die for – the perfect distortion. Even on the rhythm track, the sound is just right.

“Don’t Be Angry” is a West Coast Shuffle with a jazzy solo that lets Nick stretch a little. The instrumental “Stompin’ at the Fort” is aptly named. The menacing “Drivin’ Me Crazy” is a minor-key thing with monster left-hand work. The bends, slurs, and tremolo are a textbook course in feel. Nick even manages to fit in a rompin’ cover of Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart.”

Nick’s backing here cooks all the way through with the rhythm section right on the money, and Rev. Murph Motycka blasting away beautifully on saxophone. Guest shots of note include Jimmy Vaughan on second guitar on two cuts, and Gary Primich supplying nice harp on a couple of tracks.

There’s a picture of Nick on the inside that displays what the music feels like here. Shades, slicked-back hair, a beatnik goatee, and a hip dark pink shirt.

A high sense of style that certainly fits the feel of the music.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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