Party On The Fire Esacpe

Lipbone Redding

CitizenoneMusic, 2008

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Déjà vu all over again.  Planning on working through the stack of indie submissions quick-like, a song or maybe two apiece, assign ‘em out to writers, put the remainders in the slush pile and -- but -- damn.  Here we go again.  It’s a half hour later and the first one’s still playing.

The first thing you need to understand is that you have simply never heard anything quite like Lipbone Redding.  Redding is a full-blown musical original, a white guy from New Orleans who simmers 70s urban soul, Dixeland jazz and blues, and his own inimitable stylings on “lipbone” -- using his voice and lips to make a sound eerily like a trombone or trumpet -- at 300 degrees and delivers a potent brew that tastes like gumbo and sounds exactly like the CD’s title: Party On The Fire Escape.

Backed by the “Lipbone Orchestra” -- Jeff Eyrich on bass, background vocals and production, and Rich Zukor on drums, percussion and background vocals, singer-songwriter-guitarist Redding comes off like the Sly-est southern boy in New York City, filling this album with a winking, shuffling good-time vibe that keeps you smiling for 53 minutes straight.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening title track is a highlight, a five-star street party that never lets up, but there’s plenty more head-bobbing, thigh-slapping goodness to be found on Redding originals like “Voodoo Cadillac” and “Ghetto Girl,” as well a knockout cover of 70s rhythm guitar cult hero Little Beaver’s hit “Party Down.” 

His growling vocals on “Crunchy Crunchy Girl” are a hoot as well, like Louis Armstrong singing an old-school blues novelty, right up to the ‘lipbone” solo that catches and releases the sound of Satchmo’s own muted trumpet work so precisely that it gives you shivers.  “Fell In Love With Your Friend” and “Single Again” have similarly smirky grooves and smile-inducing payoffs, but there’s so much more here.

Redding transcends even his own vivid musical imagination with a pair of truly mind-expanding cuts.  “New York City” is a mashup of “The Message” by Grand Master Flash, and “New York City R.F.D.,” made famous by Waylon Jennings.  Just think about that one for a minute… and then understand, Redding makes it sound like the most natural thing in the world, up to and including his huge, rangy lipbone solo.  And then, when you’re done trying to fit your mind around that, consider “Chandra,” in which the boys go far, far East to discover the magic nexus between Bombay, Baton Rouge and Philly soul for a song whose lyric is adapted from Hindu legend.  It’s delivered with such straight-faced commitment and ethereal atmosphere that you could almost imagine Van Morrison recording it, y’know, as a flip side to “Jackie Wilson Said” or something.

And then we’re back, as Redding & Orchestra close things out with the upbeat gospel-funk of “Never Forsake U,” where you half-expect to find the Rev. Al Green hiding in the liner notes (nope).

Party On The Fire Escape is a trip, music that literally picks you up and transports you to its own distinct world, where everything is set to a vibe that keeps your feet tapping and your head bobbing.  These guys are complete originals, and maybe the highest compliment I can give is, for anyone who’s looking for a band to hire for your party who are going to blow your friends away and have them dancing and laughing all night long, look no further.  These are the guys you want.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2008 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CitizenoneMusic, and is used for informational purposes only.