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"BlueXotica" (Black Shadows)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)

Music can be loud, fast, obnoxious, sweet, soothing, scary and, of course, so very much more. What makes "BlueXotica" by The Black Shadows so unique is that it does so many things at once.

A CD containing an even dozen instrumental tunes, "BlueXotica" is the kind of music you'd expect to hear being played in the background of a Quentin Tarantino movie. It's bluesy, boozy guitar rock set to a lounge band beat. Listening to this record, you can just imagine sitting back in a lounge (not a bar - but a lounge; the distinction is important), sinking deep into red leather upholstered cushions, a cigarette smoldering in the ashtray on your table (whether or not you smoke) and a half-empty tumbler of Jack Daniels straight up in your hand. There might even be a stripper on a stage near the center of the room. (And, according to track 4, "Lap Dancer," there is).

If Dick Dale was a rebel beatnik instead of surfer, his music might sound a little like this. Instead of surfboards, one can imagine The Black Shadows standing around in a little dive in L.A. or San Francisco, each of them wearing dark, Mickey Spillane-era suits, thin ties and Ray-Bans - whether the sun was out or not.

Anybody who dug Dale's "Pulp Fiction" theme (I know that's not its real name but I'm too lazy to look it up and you know what I'm talking about anyway) will love The Black Shadows. There's more attitude and atmosphere to this record than any instrumental album I've heard in a long time. It's a swirling smoky storm cloud of liquor, leather and lust. 

It's great driving music, too (I first heard the band on KLOS-FM's Local Licks program while driving). 

The Black Shadows are Robert Mearns - guitar; Andrew Houseman - bass; Dale Daniel - drums. The CD was recorded at Pacifica Studios in Culver City, CA. 

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Mar 2018 16:17:35 -0500.