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112 North Duck
I took The Hook


By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
13 songs; 46:53 minutes; Excellent

 It is my honest opinion that Blues and Booze go together like fireworks and three-fingered roadside stand operators. It probably isn’t politically correct to say so, but some of the best recorded and live music I ever heard (as near as I can remember) were enjoyed in a state of inebriation.

 The music on this CD is beer drinking music – the more the better! By the time you get to the 11th song, “Gravedigger”, a slow blues number, one should be staggering, er, dancing a boozy shuffle, with bottle still in hand. “You were a gold digger; now you’re my gravedigger,” the lyrics lament, as poured out by lead singer Brendan Riley in a powerful and slightly gravelly voice. Then the expert guitar solo in the bridge emotively completes the sadness of the tale.

 Perhaps I was just in a good mood the first time I played this album, but the blues based Country Rock flavors and soaring guitar work reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd just elevated that mood even more. This is, after all, a guitar driven album without the rehearsed finesse of LS, but with all the heart. There is plenty of tasty slide guitar, clever hooks, and bridges to satisfy. Thankfully absent is one lengthy and ponderous guitar solo after another. Here the songs are concise and to the point – some less than three minutes in length and only four slightly exceed four minutes.

 Pronounced “Wun-twelv-north-duk” this Omaha, Nebraska band has been performing since 2004 and is named for “a place where the cowboys would go after many long hard days on the prairie. It’s a place where they could get their fill of rest, relaxation, entertainment, and the always important, female companionship.” While their first CD in 2006 covered classics by Blues greats, this 2007 release has 11 originals. Personnel are: Brendan Riley - vocals, guitar, percussion; Michael Beebe -guitar, vocals; Brian Luger - bass guitar; and J. E. Van Horne – drums.

 The opening title track is so catchy, I was singing along with the chorus before the song was over – on the first listen. It opens with a smile inducing, mid-tempo, bomp-a-bump rhythm before Riley sings the first words sounding, at first, like Randy Travis. As the story goes, she put out the bait, and “I Took The Hook, baby.”

 More fun: the second track contains the clever metaphor, “Your dirty lovin’ could bring a ‘Tear To A Glass Eye;’” a polished version of a Yank Rachel and Taj Mahal gem, “She Caught The Katy;” and an all out rock and roller to close the album, “Mountain Movin’ Mama.”

 This album is too much fun to pass by. Never mind they don’t have a major label promoting them with slick advertisements and national tours. Get the CD, some brews, and friends – it’s party time!

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