Time’s a Wastin’

  • 2007
  • Time's a Wastin'
  • Dave Fields
  • FMI Records

Description

I just know that my 7 year old nephew, if I had one, would read the song credits on this album and ask, “Does Dave Fields have 8 hands and 3 feet? How can he play all these instruments at once?” The answer: he doesn’t, and he doesn’t; this is a studio, not a live album. What it lacks in the spontaneity provided by a full band recorded in a studio or club, it compensates for fully by allowing Fields to demonstrate his musical virtuosity on guitar, piano, organ, bass, and drums. He is abetted on many of the 12 cuts by other musicians on bass, drums, harmonica, and horns, but this truly is Fields’s record.

And he should be proud. This album is stellar. Fields, a young bluesman based in New York City, wrote or co-wrote all the tunes, which display a range of blues sub-genres. The CD blasts into action with “Let’s Get Shakin’,” an uptempo rockabilly number reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis that had me gyrating in my chair. “Keep It Up” follows, a bar-band-blues tune evoking the Johnnie Walker Black libation and featuring some tasty harmonica playing by Rob Paparozzi. Next comes “You Don’t Know,” a soul blues with a long, inventive, dazzling guitar solo and haunting background organ both by Fields; only the somewhat obtrusive drumming (by another musician) detracts. “Don’t Look at Me That Way” is a rave-up showcasing Fields’s fine piano work, “Do Me Now” is a sly and not-so-subtle rocking bedroom seduction blues…and then comes “Rabbi Blues!”

Yes, that’s right. This is the only overtly Jewish blues song I know, and it sports a slow groove behind a witty lament. Those who don’t know Yiddish and Hebrew may fail to understand a few phrases, but the effect is undiminished. Has Fields played this at weddings and bar mitzvahs?

Hey, the album is only half over! “Frenzy” is like a man’s rendition of the old Peggy Lee classic, “Fever”; some female singer is certain to cover this song, but Fields himself does it full justice. It is followed by “DF’s Blues,” an infectious shuffle instrumental with intriguing time changes; then another slightly salacious come-on tune; a straight blues with more primo harmonica; another rockabilly dance tune that evoked memories of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen; and a fitting coda of “The Cure,” a seductive country blues with fine slide guitar rendering.

Throughout the album, Fields’s guitar prowess shines. He can do fast, slow, chords, single notes, slide, and rhythm, and his playing is consistently creative and arousing. His voice is a slightly reedy tenor which seems a tad weak for the occasional tune such as the mid-tempo “I’ll Do You Right,” but it grows on you and is not only appropriate but also moving on most songs. The tunes themselves are uniformly high quality, and the lyrics run the gamut from wry to sexy to poignant.

On first listening I liked this album. On each subsequent exposure, I like it more and more. Really good stuff!