Review – The Lucky Losers – A Winning Hand

Posted on: Friday, Jun 26, 2015


The Lucky Losers – A Winning Hand

(West Tone: WTR-1504)

There is an excellent, generally rather controlled feel to the blues on this set. The Lucky Losers are singers Cathy Lemons (from Dallas, Texas) and San Francisco’s Phil Berkowitz (who also plays harmonica) and much of the singing is in a duet format, which is slightly unusual these days and works well.

Recorded partly at the acclaimed Greaseland Studios by ace guitarist Kid Andersen (who also puts in some guest appearances) and with the likes of guitarist Steve Freund, keyboards player Kevin Zuffi and drummer Jay Hansen among the supporting musicians, this is a guaranteed success. Nice and moody for much of the time – try ‘Long Hard Road’ for a good example, one of two tracks with sympathetic horn arrangements by Michael Peloquin.

Phil’s harmonica playing is sparse and effective, and his and Cathy’s voices mesh well together, tending a little towards a 60s R’n’B/ soul feel (think Dinah Washington and Brook Benton – ‘Baby You Got What It Takes’ – perhaps Sam & Dave, or better still, Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure).

Maybe you want to jump around though, and if this all sounds just a little too low-key, lend an ear to the boogying ‘Detroit City Man’ which should get your feet moving. The overall impression left by this fine album is of a collection of 60s songs to be released on 45s – maybe with just a little pruning – and that is certainly a recommendation in my book!


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