Terry Adams & Steve Ferguson – Louisville Sluggers
This 17-cut collection includes some bonus tunes from 2 Kentucky musicians & founders of the legendary mixed media group NRBQ (New Rhythm & Blues Quartet).
The late composer/vocalist/guitarist/dulcimer artist Steve Ferguson (1948-2009) & Terry Adams (composer/vocalist/pianist/organ/marimba/harpsichord). The duo met in 1965 & began playing in the Adams family basement. After some time NRBQ formed & Terry Adams is still a member of the long-lasting band.
This 17-song set was recorded originally by Howie Gano (Kentucky) & Billy Shaw (Vermont). The reissue was produced by Cheryl Pawelski & ArQive 50 Research. First issued in 2006 this is an expanded version of Louisville Sluggers (Drops May 12–Big Notes/Omnivore).
Their love for certain types of music & accomplished artists no matter how diversified is what motivated them – Thelonious Monk, Jimmie Rodgers, Louis Armstrong & Hank Williams all added to their own inventiveness & a jambalaya of music was set to steaming.
There are 4 bonus tracks & I guess the only caution I’d offer a listener is to approach with an open mind & an open ear — welcome the tinge of jazz, arresting blues, ear-caressing Americana, the inspired delivery of vintage rock n’ roll, the pastoral antique country richness & the upbeat concessions of tunes like Allen Toussaint’s “Java” (an RCA Victor hit for trumpeter Al Hirt in the 60s). It will all feel like a satisfying dinner from soup to nuts.
I could say this is an eccentric set but that would lead some to believe the music is strange, but it isn’t. It’s just varied & diversified but impressively accomplished. “Peanut Vendor,” opens & it’s a standard 1930 rhumba-oriented instrumental written originally by Moises Simons & here it’s performed with all the class of its Cuban origins. Covered in excess of 160 times & this 161st version is just as beautiful.
The music never stalemates since the duo uses a wide-influential blend & the importance here is that they have an instinct to never cover something out of their reach. These unrelated genres, melodies from different generations & eras segue into each other seamlessly — as smoothly as milk mixes with hot coffee.
Highlights –“Peanut Vendor,” “Same Train,” “Turkey In the Straw,” “Blue Monk,” “Java,” “Duet for Cousins” & “Ichabod – Take 1.”
Musicians – Pete Toigo (string bass), Tom Ardolino (drums/d. 2012), Gene Oliveri (alto sax on 2 cuts), Klem Klimek (alto & tenor sax on 2 cuts), Quentin Sharpenstein (string bass on 2 cuts & tuba), Mike Murphy (tenor sax), Donn Adams (trombone on 2 cuts & tambourine) & Harrie Lynne Buecker (high notes on four-handed piano on “Duet For Cousins”).
CD cover photo courtesy of Jeff Benko. The 55-minute CD @ Amazon & Discogs + https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/louisville-sluggers/
Enjoy our interview of Terry Adams here: Interview: NRBQ’s Terry Adams Defines Music’s Spiritual Beauty