On ‘Controlled Burn’ Paradise Kings has the blues, and that’s a good thing
The blues has evolved over time. In the past, it was largely people singing about their troubles. Perhaps Bleeding Gums Murphy summed it up best on The Simpsons when he said, “The blues isn’t about feeling better. It’s about making other people worse. Modern blues is really the opposite. It’s about putting the good feelings out there.
You’ll find pretty good evidence of that on Controlled Burn, the new album from Santa Barbara band Paradise Kings.
“I’d Sing the Blues if I Had ‘Em” is one example of feel-good blues. This is a most unusual blues song in that the narrator sings about all the success he’s had – including making $100,000 selling lemonade as a kid. Even more unusual are the lyrics, “My life has always been on Easy Street.” That’s not something you find in a lot of blues songs. In addition to the feel-good lyrics, this song has a melody that is sure to get you moving. This song is about as joyful as blues gets.
While there are a lot of joyful songs on this album, another one that catches the attention is the lead track “’69 Chevy”. Of course a blues band doing a song about a car is nothing new, but this is a pretty solid effort. It is a jump-blues song with a guitar part that borders on rockabilly. The way Henry Garrett sings about this classic car, it might get you looking for a ’69 Chevy of your own. It’s easy to imagine people swing dancing to this at a live performance by the band.
“Poor Me, Poor Me, Pour Me another Drink” is a little more of the theme you expect from a blues song. In this song, the narrator bemoans the fact that his life hasn’t gotten very far due in part to regular drinking. While lamenting this, he sings, “Mr. Jack Daniels helps me to think”. This one is equal parts blues and rock with a guitar part that is reminiscent of some of AC/DC‘s more bluesy tunes.
Paradise Kings shows good chops and good range from swing to raucous beer-soaked blues. On this album, the band shows that it is possible to have a good time even while you have the blues. Controlled Burn was released on July 30 and is available now. Fans of the blues are sure to embrace this good-time album.