Artist: Bad News Barnes & The Brethren of Blues Band
Album: 90 Proof Truth
Label: Flaming Saddles Records
Release Date: 08/28/2015
A dozen tracks of complete hokum, as it clearly says on the album cover, from one of the USA’s finest hoaxers and hoary frontmen. This guy is not just a comic with a challenging sense of humor, he’s also one helluva singer/songwriter with an at times decidedly jaundiced eye on the skewed social and political world of modern America. I have to declare an interest from the very start with this offering: I absolutely love it. It makes me laugh out loud, and the sheer inescapable mastery of the full-tilt, Stax-like horny (pun intended, as Barnes would expect) musical backing makes for totally irresistible stuff.
Barnes crosses genres as easily as he reaches out to cross-dressers, straights and gays with a full-hand of delicious songs. From the opening track, “America Needs A Queen,” with its sublimely comic lyrics demanding a gay leader on top, you know where this collection is likely to take you – a rolling ride of excellent music, packed to bursting with wit and wisdom, sure-fired soul and super sounds. Religion also comes into the firing line with a marvelous number, “Westboro Baptist Blues,” that should carry a health warning along the lines of ‘Do Not Listen While Eating or Drinking’ – for fear of spraying your near neighbors with half-chomped, slurped debris.
A wonderful, fun album with a backing band that includes the likes of the late Lew Soloff on trumpet and around half of the surviving members of Blood, Sweat & Tears, among others. And as a bonus – if such was needed – this is a double CD/DVD release, so you can also watch the mayhem as it unfolds.
– Iain Patience