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Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires - Words Are Like Bullets

Blue Edge Records

10 tracks; 46:06 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Retro and Modern Electric Blues; Rock and Roll; Roots and Retro sounds

My fascination with song writing continues with me yet to make any progress towards the completion of even one. Perhaps I should follow the lead of Steve Gerard of Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires who has cleverly based a song on a pleasant memory of a fun and exciting time in his life – the late teen years.

“Baby Get Your Skirt Up Now” is a rocking and rollicking good-time song which refers to Saturday night dancing at a teen nightspot during the 1960s when girls’ tight, tight skirts down to the knees were in style. In order for a girl to really use her legs on the dance floor she had to hike that skirt up just a little (or a lot). In this song featuring some of their Hottest guitar, piano, and rhythm work, Steve has written about going to "To The Crystal" in Ohio and hearing Terry Knight And The Pack which later, with the addition of Mark Farner, became Grand Funk Railroad.

Throughout the CD, multi-talented Steve Gerard is absolutely deft on a large hollow body electric guitar and looks like a country gentleman in the liner photos. Dave “Elmo” Bailey is an outstanding baritone vocalist who first came to my attention back in 2002 when he was known as “Elmo Bliss” singing in the Chicago area with “Felix [Reyes] and the Cats.”

Another source for song lyrics is an argument or disagreement with a loved one. In a telephone conversation, Gerard told me how “Air of Negativity” is based on an accusation made about him by an offspring. Steve evidently took the charge to heart because his lyrics say, “Oh dear Lord, please rescue me from this air of negativity.” Heavy repetitive organ paced by steady rhythm and pleading guitar make a haunting backdrop to the prayer like vocals passionately emoted by Elmo.

The socially conscious song “Bullets in the Barrel” is the song spawning the CD title "Words Are Like Bullets." Bailey implores the power and potential hurt of words and how wisdom and restraint can prevent unnecessary damage.

Following their second CD after the critically acclaimed debut release, "New Sounds from Kansas City," this great album features all original songs by Steve Gerard, Dave Bailey and Patrick Recob.

Radio ready is athe grooving "Find The Answer" with Lee McBee on harp. A nice change up is found in "It Didn't Happen That Way," a slow, jazzy number presented as a four piece combo of piano, Preston Hubbard - double bass, guitar, and sax behind Elmo's solid vocals.

Another killer is the last cut, a bonus track, "Ain't My Problem." Written by Gerard and previously released by Sean Carney’s Blues for a Cure, it’s loaded with standout moments and all-stars. Try three different guitar leads: Sean Carney starts it off, Steve Gerard takes over, and Nick Schnebelen (Trampled Under Foot) ends with the third guitar lead and provides the rich vocals. His Trampled Under Foot brother and sister supply the bass and drums while Gene Walker adds Sax.

Rounding out The National Debonaires are Patrick Recob - bass, Mike “Shinetop, Jr.” Sedovic - keys, and Dwight Ross, Jr. –drums. “Guest” Debonaires are: Mike Clark - sax, Greg “Junior” Demchuk - guitar & harmonica, Preston Hubbard - double Bass, and Lee McBee – harmonica.

Quality productions like this CD should insure that, given time, the New Debonaires will become successful and rich “Old” Debonaires!

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 

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