"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> RALPH CARNEY
Smog Veil Records
By: Ron Garman
Ralph's latest collection of "honkers and screamers" from the pre-rock era kicks off with Buddy Tate's "Blue Creek Hop," an old-timey country swing rugcutter that sounds like how they celebrated V-J Day in Tulsa. Carney really begins to cook on Coleman Hawkins' "Meet Dr. Foo" and cook on "Echoes of Harlem" by Duke Ellington, the spooky piano walkup (courtesy of Michael McIntosh) of which sets up Ralph's slow-grind meander through the melody. Sir Duke's catalog gets another workout in "Carnival in Caroline," with the band coming on like Tommy Dorsey as played by Steely Dan and Karina Denike's perky vocals hopping in and out of the jolly cacophony. There's a bravura run at "Moondog Boogie" and Carney's playing on "Gypsy Without a Song" is slow and sultry as a goodnight waltz in a juke joint's gravel parking lot. "Linger Awhile" continues the goodnight-ladies mood, and "Pompton Turnpike" extends it into fantasia, as the boys in the band call out the travelogue lyrics in a cheerful communal bellow. The amiable romanticism of "I Wish I Were Twins" rings on a pass at Rodgers and Hart's "You Took Advantage of Me," as Ralph pours out this familiar tale of familiar moonstruck woe as an exercise in awe-shucks amiability. The album wraps up with "Echoes of Chloe," a psychedelic bop freakfest that fades us out as the P. Dragon fades us in.