Jerry Joseph – Baby, You’re The Man Who Would Be King
Another interesting artist making a recording in the beautiful boroughs of NYC. Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (electric & acoustic guitars/keys/percussion/harmony vocals) this set features captivating Big Apple musicians & according to the press release Jerry Joseph (vocals/acoustic guitar/harmonica) wrote the songs in a vintage camping trailer parked in his Portland driveway during what else? The pandemic.
Jerry Joseph came to NY in the summer of 2021 to lay down tracks at Eric’s Brooklyn studio. There are 9 Portland trailer-composed romps on this 42-minute Baby, You’re The Man Who Would Be King (Drops Sept. 29-Cosmo Sex Records).
Jerry says this effort has more simplicity, truth & vulnerability than others. Maybe the pandemic gave birth to a lot of creativity since lots of press releases I saw went out of their way to include that nasty business in the creation of music. But some like this one were probably worth the toss of the dice.
Willie Nile’s zeal & gruffness permeate a couple of tunes (“….the gravity of love”). Excellent. I believe Jerry & Eric succeeded in slathering some New York City mustard into their musical knish. I’m from Jersey so I really like music like this. I think Jerry Joseph rescued himself by coming to the bright NYC avenues & lovely Heins-LaFarge tiled subterranean subways of our steel & glass jungle land city. He added some swag to his savviest of tunes.
Personally, I think NYC may also have been given a creative heft by having Mr. Joseph here to unlock what this city once represented with deep-fried lyrics & attitude music. Reference the likes of Willie Nile & Garland Jeffries. Jerry glosses over his “Canadian Boyfriend” & “Leaving The Lights On.” Both have rich Garland-isms that infuse with Jeffries’ vocalisms. I like that soulfulness Jerry manages to tap into on these tunes — all done raw & elegant thanks to Jerry’s voice & the deft touch of Roscoe with all the absorbing musicians. Lou Reed would admire this band.
Tight grooves & vibes with a breadth of the beat generation mesh through the melodies to be excavated. The atmosphere’s always genuine. Jerry isn’t a New Yorker, but he’s captured the essence. There’s even a Graham Parker embodiment in “Carmen Miranda.” Not imitation — but a capture of the Parker spirit.
Highlights – “The War I Finally Won,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” “20 20 Moons,” “Book Burning,” “Canadian Boyfriend,” “Carmen Miranda,” “Loving Kindness” & “Leaving The Lights On.”
Musicians – Jeremy Chatzky (bass), Phil Cimino (drums), Charlie Giordano (Hammond organ/Wurlitzer electric piano/accordion), Mary Lee Kortes & Casey Neil (harmony vocals), Joe Flood (fiddle) & Cody Nilsen (pedal steel guitar).
A folded insert with lyrics included. Color image by Jason Thrasher. CD @ https://cosmosexschool.com/products/baby-you-re-the-man-who-would-be-king & https://www.jerryjoseph.com/