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Paying For The Privilege….Crooked-Eye Tommy!

I haven't been doing reviews for a while. I had a bad attitude. Couldn't seem to find anything I liked. Perhaps I hadn't gotten the old blues out of my system and was still listening for the 40s and 50s? Fat chance. For the most part, that's all gone now. Down that dark, railroad track of time.

So many bands today are releasing blues CDs. I guess because the format is relatively simple and there aren't that many changes. But believe me, the blues just isn't all that simple. If you have never really felt the blues deep down inside, how do you expect to convey those feelings to an audience? Do you wonder why you don't receive the respect you think you deserve?

A couple of weeks ago, a marketing friend sent me a CD he thought I would like. At first listen, I didn't. Perhaps I thought I would hear something along the lines of Stevie Ray Vaughan. I should have known better. There was only one Stevie Ray. And to be honest, I should have been listening to the group on the CD and "NOT" superimposing what I would have liked to have heard. I should be listening for anything that meant something along the blues tradition.

After listening twice, I decided to call Tommy Marsh (Crooked Eye Tommy). While I was speaking with Mr. Marsh he mentioned that his band was paying for the privilege to play the blues by working various day jobs. I liked his honesty and straightforwardness. He said the learning curve (since this was their their first CD) was mighty steep and there were all sorts of lessons to be learned. Selecting the right studio and engineer was primary. Picking tunes in different keys so the album didn't sound the same was also necessary. I decided to listen again.

On this third listen I was amazed to find several cuts which I could get behind.

The first cut on the CD titled, "Crooked Eye Tommy" tells the story of Tommy's young life and, if it's true, gives Tommy the right to sing the blues.

The second cut I like is "Somebody's Got To Pay". There are a lot of crooks in the American corporate system that have gotten away with lots of good, hard-working folks cash, homes, autos and lives. So far, no one is paying.

The third cut is number 9 on the CD. It's title, "Mad And Disgusted" covers most of America's attitude today.

You should check out Crooked Eye Tommy and their new CD, Butterflies And Snakes

I am changing my attitude. I'm going to listen more to the new artists as they have just as much to say as the old guys from way back when. All you have to do is listen without preconceptions. You'll be surprised.

But I will always bear in mind....the blues ain't easy to play....honestly.

John Rhys Eddins

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