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Franco Paletta & The Stingers - Can’t Kick Love

Self Release

9 songs; 38:22 minutes

Styles: Swing Blues, Chicago Blues

Franco Paletta and the Stingers will remind die-hard fans that the blues has different flavors. While one artist plays Piedmont-style and another Delta-style, the Stingers’ particular flavors are Swing and Chicago-style blues in their hot debut release, “Can't Kick Love.” As a sorbet is delightfully cool on the palate, “Can't Kick Love” will refresh listeners with its suaveness, originality, and commitment to catchy songs! Each selection has been written by Paletta and arranged by the band—a welcome change from nothing but covers. Accompanying Franco’s vocals and harp are bassist Timmer Blakely, electric and acoustic guitarist David Ward, and drummer Jon Beyer. Together with keyboard guests Steve Kerin and John Soller, they make a formidable “swarm.”

The Stingers have their home base “hive” in Portland, Oregon, “buzzing” around to local venues and even planning future trips to Washington. In 2007, lead singer Paletta won the “Journey to Memphis” competition and had the honor of representing the Cascade Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge.

Here's a question for music fiends: Is it a mistake for a band to perform a song on an album that almost completely upstages the title track? In this particular case, this reviewer answers, “Heck, no!” The first number, “I Can't Stand It,” does exactly this. It's a maelstrom of guitar, harp, and boogie piano by Steve Kerin, sucking listeners into its swirling vortex of energy. It won't bring one down, however. On the contrary, it will spring one UP onto the dance floor! Then, the second cut, “Love Me One More Time,” with Paletta’s resonant vocals and killer harp cements the idea that this CD is a winner.

Want to relax a little? Check out “Pretty Senorita” with a spicy tang and chromatic harp. Try the upbeat sing-along hit “Crazy 'Bout You Baby.” This CD ends with as much of a bang as the one it started with, as proven by its final track, “Baby Won't Let Me Ride.” It's a tongue-in-cheek lament about a horse—supposedly—and a “real strong man, now, [who] just can't be denied.” Once blues fans stop smirking, they'll start playing air guitar on the galloping solo in the middle of the song!

Overall, “Can't Kick Love” simply kicks! According to the band's website, they are as yet unsigned with a record company. That's a shame, because Franco Paletta and his Stingers definitely deserve to be.

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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