Cyril Lance,
Live from the Outskirts
(Dogtalk, 2004)

It's always good finding a new musician to like. The first song on Cyril Lance's live album, a jam-blues selection called "I Want the Real Thing," is a neat introduction to the gritty blues of this band. It's energetic with lyrics that demand without ranting. It reminded me of CCR's "Fortunate Son" -- without the Cajun '60s feel.

"I Went Down," the second song, is more like traditional blues, but it still retains much of its rock influences, reminding me of some Allman Brothers cuts. Punctuated by a moody meditative guitar, the song is spoken by a formerly well-lived man who, quite unexpectedly, went down to meet his maker. It's rocking blues and is pretty upbeat considering it's about the suddenness of death, a nice song about the frailty of life without being morbid.

Unlike the contemporary blues sound of the rest of the album, "The Blues Ain't Nothin'" has a classic feel. Sung not by Cyril Lance but by the equally rich smoky voice of Johnny Neel, it sets the body to swaying, the closest thing to a dance cut on the album. Beginning with a honky-tonk blues piano, it continues in a lively hopeful vein all the way through to its triumphant ending. I especially loved the spoken word bits in the middle of the song. Very funny.

"Chank" and "Remembering Jon" are the two instrumental cuts. "Remembering Jon" is suitably meditative and nostalgic, while "Chank" is a rocking jam with a nice dash of retro '60s funk in the beginning that later is joined by Dave McCracken on the B3 Organ and Kelly Pace's drums.

Singer-guitarist Cyril Lance is backed up in these six songs on this energetic blues-rock live album by a band that includes Johnny Neel on piano and B3 organ, Matt Jenson on B3 organ, Chris Carroll on bass and vocals, Kelly Pace on drums and Dave McCracken on B3 organ. This is an excellent CD.

- Rambles
written by Carole McDonnell
published 7 May 2005

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