Album Reviews

New Orleans Suspects


Artist:     New Orleans Suspects

Album:     Kaleidoscoped

Label:     Louisiana Red Hot

Release Date:     09/16/2016


A lady on the inside suggested I drape strings of beads around my neck and drink Abita with this record. Great advice, but needless. Two years ago, I cheered Ouroboros, these bad boys’ second album. Shoot, the name New Orleans Suspects alone makes it tough not to crack at least one heady brew before clicking play.

Their latest album, Kaleidoscoped, incites damn good times all by its natural self, and especially so when “Cocaine Jane” gets herself going. That alluring little tight-dress groove burrows right under the skin, controlled by the rhythm, spiked by dangerous guitar, and ultimately driven deep by the sax playing of Jeff Watkins. Watkins and his four fellow Suspects—the Radiators’ Reggie Scanlan on bottomless bass, the Neville Brothers’ “Mean” Willie Green drumming like the percussive soothsayer he is, CR Gruver living up to his name on keyboards, and the fabulous Dirty Dozen Brass Band singer/guitarist Jake Eckert—kill it here, nonstop, once again.

As might be expected (and certainly welcome!), you can hear the Radiators hooting some in the attitude and melodies. And, a little Little Feat does sashay through, too. In fact, the Feat’s Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett make prominent appearances, singing and playing sweet, stinging guitar and mandolin respectively on Barrere’s own phenomenally rollicking “Dixie Highway.” Otherwise, “You Got the Fire” shakes and bakes in bayou heat, and “Round Up Dem Suspects,” featuring Mardi Gras “Big Chief” Juan Pardo of Golden Comanche leading the charge, digs a deep, brass-infused furrow down the street.

The good times roll constantly here. Go ahead—colorful beads and slight intoxication can’t help but add to the enthusiasm for life on vibrant display when these New Orleans Suspects are released to sing and play.

– Tom Clarke

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