Every now and again the universe does us a solid and we find something different, exciting, even inspiring upon our doorstep. There’s nothing like hitting “play” and having our senses rewarded with cleansing, animated music that revives us. And so it was when we discovered the treasures awaiting us on Problem Child by Dany Franchi, out on Kara Grainger’s new label, Station House Records.
There are three covers on the album: Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy,” Freddie King’s “Sen-Sa-Shun,” and Willie Dixon’s “Everything Gonna Be Alright.” We’ll talk about them in a bit. Now when we say that there’s a distinct Texas flavor to this music, we mean it. It’s not the hard-edged rock-tinged beauty of Lance Lopez’s work, nor is it the uniquely expressive rock dripping with blues underpinnings that adorn ZZ Top’s masterpieces. The beauty here is understated, uncluttered, texturally rich music that one would find in any Texas roadhouse or dance hall worth its salt. And friends, Franchi and company give us songs that are deeply satisfying.
Problem Child is produced by Texas guitar icon Anson Funderburgh, and Category5 Amps amps guru Don Ritter. Recorded by Grammy Award-winning engineer Stuart Sullivan at Wire Recording Studio in Austin, Texas, the clean mix heightens the intoxication of the music, luring listeners in.
This is what is referred to as a “set and forget” album: You just put it on and let it play, again and again. That being said we did have our favorites. “Back To the River” has a winning roadhouse vibe, while “Give Me a Sign” is something you’d be hoping to hear in any great Texas dance hall on a Friday or Saturday night.
Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy” is laid back and as welcoming as an evening campfire after a hard day’s ride. “Real Love” is slow dance heaven – everything is perfect; every accent is exactly where it needs to be. “Run Around” is a slow shuffle with attitude. It’s back to ’50s soul, strutting & strollin’ on “Don’t Steal My Time,” teasing us with a tasteful biting swagger.
Freddie King’s “Sen-Sa-Shun” is a killer instrumental and the organ is a great nostalgic touch. When Willie Dixon’s “Everything Gonna Be Alright” queues up and begins to play, sing this to your honey as you strut around the room and smoke will emanate from your fingertips. This is serious stuff, so handle with care y’all. Great solo too! It’s even better than Magic Sam’s version on the Cobra label.
This record comes together so well it’s frightening. The music is moving and alive with promise, and we wait for every note like it was money. The vocals keep us where Franchi wants us to be: in his crosshairs and captivated.
Even if you’re not from Texas, don’t despair. You too can bring home your very own copy of Problem Child. We recommend everyone get a copy – soon.
Problem Child by Dany Franchi
Label: Station House Records
Released: May 18th, 2018
*Featured Image is Courtesy of Station House Records