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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Stank Willie

History

Review by Gary Hill

Recorded with their horn section The Red Hots (who technically are credited in the name on the CD. This reviewer left that off for brevity in the title of the page), this album is an interesting one in many ways. First it shows a band that can take a sound that is distinctly tied to the jam band genre and employ it in short, concise tunes. Secondly, it shows a group who can take a sound similar to Dave Matthews and infuse it with blues and jazz textures that have an air of genuineness. The truth of the matter is, this is very pop-oriented music, but it has a strong musicality. That makes this CD a true contrast and enigma, and a good one at that. You can purchase the CD at www.stankwillie.com.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Bad Dog
Coming in energetic and fun, this one has the texture of a funky Dave Matthews Band.
What You Need
Although this is a slower paced number, it is by no means slow. It has a slightly off-kilter rhythmic texture and rather bluesy style. The Matthews band leanings are still quite strong here.
History
This one is more of a balladic arena rock type piece. It gets a bit jazzy in its chordings at times. This is the first real variation on the album, and with its jazzy arrangement is quite a strong piece. The instrumental jamming on this one is subdued but very potent.
If I Were A Monkey
The funk is back, along with the Matthewsish leanings. This is a fun rocker with some tasty stylings.
Song For Maya
This one comes in almost Crimsonesque, then makes a quick left turn into a smoking Latin groove. This one is a nice surprise, jazzy, but ethnic at the same time. Bravo - this jam really cooks. It is one of the brightest points on the disc. The King Crimsonish leanings return for the outro, but this time infused with that Latin sort of sound.
I Got It!
This fast paced cut is one part jazz, one part funk, and all fun. The Dave Matthews leanings are present here, but barely.

Miles Away
This mellower, slower piece features a fairly sedate fusion texture and a very accessible vocal line.
Fat Lady Blues
A live recording, this is a fairly straightforward blues jam that truly gains a lot from the audience response. Who says a bunch of white guys can't have the blues? This is great fun.
White Lies
This one, although still accessible and poppy, has some definite prog elements. It is quite a strong cut.
Prelude
This is a brief, poignant acoustic guitar solo that serves, appropriately enough, as the prelude to the last song.
The Last Song
Bonus points for the truth in advertising on the title of this one, the album closer begins with a soulful keyboard line. It is a slow, R & B infused ballad that is one of the strongest cuts on the disc.
 
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