Tony Baltimore – Let’s All Go Insane
While not entirely convinced this music is produced to get credit cards swiped or put smiles on the faces of listeners — there’s some novelty to it all. But it’s not camp. Oh, no. Not all music is meant to be taken seriously. Fun should be in the music experience. Elton John with “Solar Prestige A Gammon,” & They Might Be Giants (“Birdhouse In Your Soul”) did it.
What this is, is to separate the instant pudding from the slow stirred simmered batch for a richer, delicious & pleasurable time. Key West multi-instrumentalist Tony Baltimore (a Maryland native) knows how to stir a simmered batch of serious songs with humor & whimsical melody.
Producers Ian Shaw & Tony assembled a 10-cut, 38-minute Let’s All Go Insane (Drops June 17–Conch Town) collection & open with the title song. A jaunty, catchy old-fashioned tune followed by the ingeniously simple “That Girl’s Got Eyes.” Baltimore’s an innovator. He takes what exists & adds his own touch & ingenuity to recreate it. The soulful “All Day,” is a little kick-ass in a retro way. Peppered with funky rock guitar in a blustery breeze of notes with soulful Gospel-inflected female vocal.
This is Tony’s 3rd CD filled with island attitude, ragtime pinch, New Orleans strokes & multi-cultural tones – with diversity that works like a bouquet of different colored varied flowers. There’s a carnival atmosphere — not the dark Tom Waits type. “Fly Alone” is a good listen. The CD has mature moments.
The glorious “Sit Still,” pitches the truth that “when you’re making love to me I’m thinking of someone else.” Eye-brows – at ease. Tony has a Harry Nilsson display of humor like Harry’s songs from his most creative era (“Nilsson Schmilson” “Son of Schmilson”). Soulful singers add to the performance & arrangements have finesse & never bog down into silliness. Quite a balancing act.
Baltimore’s vocal’s not a growl but smoky like Rob Junkglas (“Make It Mean Something”). Lends credibility to humorous words. “Storm the Beach,” takes skillful aim at journalists & politicians. “Seaside Blues,” has tuneful humor that’s mindful of obscure singers with minor melodic hits (Shannon “Abergavenny” – 1969), Peter Starstedt (“Frozen Orange Juice”), Whistling Jack Smith (“I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman”), Stackridge (“Do the Stanley,” “The Volunteer”) & Strawbs’ (“Part of the Union”).
Wisely Tony a beautiful ballad follows with “Window Pane,” a gentle piano & Dave Cousins’ type vocal tone made more luscious by Marjory Lee’s vocal on a verse. “Postcard,” continues with this tone. The collection is a faithful little storybook of wonderful, focused stories.
Amusement mixed in with the subtle – the man is a master chef in a kitchen of good tunes who offers up great generous servings. Image courtesy of Tony’s website. CD @ https://tonybaltimore.com/