Review: T. Rogers – Simple Life

Posted on: Monday, Mar 16, 2015

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T. Rogers – Simple Life

(Self-release)

Don’t ask for Mr Rogers, he ain’t here! The band’s name (and this is a first for this website) uses a bit of Hungarian word play, a ‘troger’ being someone with a relaxed attitude to life and a determination to enjoy it. For, yes, these guys are from Budapest – apart from top-notch Canadian harmonica player Stewart Hay – and as far as I can make out this is their fourth album.

As befits the origins of the band’s name, this is appears at first to be a good-time rock-blues album and one with punchy production. But it contains surprises aplenty.

Ferci Kovacs seems the main man, primary songwriter, guitarist and laid-back yet still powerful vocalist. But this is a six-piece and there is a big-band feel to most of the tracks. The opening trilogy offers polished rocky, occasionally funky, stuff in which Hay has ample chance to shine, particularly on the stomping ‘Gotta Go’, alongside the band’s twin guitar attack, Pal Sturmann being Kovacs’ front line partner.

The slow burning ‘Mood For The Day’ is more melodic fare with an almost poppy vocal from Kovacs before a truly original take on Elmore James’ ‘It Hurts Me Too’ driven along by harmonica and an insistent backbeat from drummer Bela Barath, Vince Szell’s percussion and Zsolt Szatai’s bass. There are many star performers here.

But the album does have a track with truly stellar appeal for T. Rogers have a fan in one Keb’ Mo’ who slipped in to a studio in Nashville to add distinctive vocal and guitar to a fine duet (with Kovacs) of his own ‘Angelina.’

But even more interesting and more representative of T Rogers’ versatility and originality are the two closing numbers. ‘Sunshine Cold’, amazingly, is part funk-blues blast, part anthemic pop and the beautiful near-ballad “Simple Life” has a guitar solo that is pure ’70s Pretty Things. It is surprise touches that like this that make this such a rewarding release.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

www.trogers.hu

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