Rick Estrin and The Nightcats
One Wrong Turn
BluesWax Rating: 10 out of 10
During their 30-year career Little Charlie and the Nightcats recorded ten albums. After Charlie Baty retired, front-man Rick Estrin, (harp and vocals) became leader, and he recruited Kid Anderson, the guitarist from Charlie Musselwhite’s band. Anderson’s surf-like guitar leads replaced Baty’s swing. With the veteran rhythm section of J. Hansen on drums and Lorenzo Farrell on bass and keyboards, they scored multiple Blues Music Award nominations for 2010’s Twisted, their first release as Rick Estrin and The Nightcats.
For One Wrong Turn, Estrin has written or co-written nine new songs. Opening with “Just a D.O.G.”, Estrin’s songs are about relationships and once again he is humorous. In 1994 Estrin won Song of The Year for “My Next Ex-Wife.” He tops them all with “I Met Her on the Blues Cruise,” which just maybe the funniest song Estrin has ever written.
On “Lucky You,” the veteran rhythm section hammers out a most infectious beat. “Calling All Fools” is a shuffle with an outstanding harp solo by Estrin. On the title track, Anderson and Hanson become background singers as they chime in on the chorus “One Wrong Turn, One Wrong Turn.” “Movin Slow” is a slower shuffle and Jack Sanford guests on sax.
“Zonin’” is the first of two instrumentals included. It features Farrell on organ with a Booker T.-type intro and Terry Hanck added on sax. “The Legend of Taco Cobbler” is a piece of film noir featuring Anderson’s surf guitar, Farrell’s organ, and a trumpet solo reminiscent of The Tijuana Brass.
This band was nominated for Band of The Year in both 2010 and 2011. Estrin has been nominated four times as Harmonica Player of The Year, but he has really proven himself a great bandleader. This album should garner them a slew of new nominations. One Wrong Turn is guaranteed to make you smile as Estrin is the consummate entertainer.
Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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