Yep; get you a heapin’ helping of Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists‘ Mulligan Stew. Then, go back for more! This album is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered field of wannabes. It does not pretend to be anything other than good music and a good time. Overall, the album has a Juke Joint feel to it; great music with that back-to-basics, uncluttered sound, and an enthusiastic delivery.
The Boxcar Tourists are Franc Robert on guitars, lap steel, and vocals; Trent Scholl on bass and vocals, and Dave Simmons on drums and vocals. Also along for the ride are Lee Pons on piano and organ, and Smokin’ Joe Sadowski on harp. Roberts has said that the Boxcar Tourists are “kinda musical hobos.” They take us along for an informative and exciting journey on Mulligan Stew. So, let’s dig in.
The album starts off with the lively “Let’s Go Jukin.” This is followed by the hard rocking, foot stomping “Coal Burning Locomotive.” “Beale Street Memories” and “Why Can’t I Be Your Man” have that Memphis soul feel to them: slow, bluesy and soulful, with some nice guitar playing by Robert. “Mulligan Stew” has a country swing feel and some great playing from the whole band. The band also does a really fine job on the acoustic numbers “Lay My Body Down”, The Devil At Your Door”, and “It’s Morning Time.” The playing on these three songs was spot on and very well done. “Ohh Baby” is another foot tapper, and “Your Crying Eyes” is a very smooth blues cut. “Ya Can’t Have Nothin” is a slow, slide guitar feast and “You Worry Me” is more of a shuffle slide piece; both are extremely satisfying. Lee Pons and Smokin’ Joe Sadowski do a fine job throughout on piano and harp, respectively. Also: Some might find Robert’s vocals eerily reminiscent of Bootsy Collins, and it actually works well here.
This album is a good time with some fine playing, and definitely one you want to have in your collection.