Monday, November 21, 2011

Tommy Rivers and the Raw Ramps

Self-titled
December Records

I bet Tommy Rivers wears really cool shoes, like those Italian jobs with the buckles, and I'm almost positive that he smokes his cigarettes with style. Tommy's one of those rare cats that exudes an easy rock star charm, and I'm sure that every Saturday night in Memphis you can find him in some sleazy rock dive, sauntering around with his dressed up/messed up mop of hair, flowered shirt and jangly guitar, a big friendly smile on his face, and plenty of stories to tell. If ever there was a cult hero waiting to happen, it's old man Rivers here. Tommy's got the sympathy and the taste to name his band after T Rex's best song, and luckily, they live up to the boast. They play soulful ballads and semi-acoustic sleaze rock and bliss pop and melancholy glitter folk. There's talk of lost loves and found friends and plenty of Sunday morning-coming-down odes to the perils of rock and roll decadence, and they even manage to slip in a heartfelt Christmas song, and it's all drawled out in Rivers' gentlemen rogue croon. He sounds like a Southern Nikki Sudden soaking in a rainy afternoon, or a moonshine swilling Tyla, or maybe a dixie Westerberg lost in a sea of scarves, with an ace band of gypsies, tramps and thieves backing him up, like the Black Crowes without all that hippy jam band jive. This record isn't even new, by the way, it's dated here as being from 1998, but you and I both missed it first time around, so it's making the rounds again, getting a second chance to shine. And it does, baby, like a diamond.

- Sleaze
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