|Chuck E. Weiss — Red Beans and Weiss (2014)|
Chuck E. Weiss — Red Beans and Weiss
♠ A cult American singer, songwriter, and nightclub owner; the subject of Rickie Lee Jones's famous “Chuck E's in Love.” Chuck E. Weiss is sort of a fringe character in rock music. Immortalized in song (Rickie Lee Jones’s “Chuck E.’s in Love” from 1979) and revered by other musicians, Weiss is largely unknown to the masses. But life in the shadows suits Weiss, a longtime fixture in Los Angeles’s music scene where he regularly plays his brand of the blues in bars.
Born: ca. 1952 in Denver, CO
Location: Denver, CO ~ Los Angeles, CA
Album release: April 14, 2014
Record Label: Anti-
01 Tupelo Joe (Chuck E. Weiss) 3:15
02 Shushie (Will MacGregor / Chuck E. Weiss) 3:36
03 Boston Blackie (J.J. Holiday / Chuck E. Weiss) 3:50
04 That Knucklehead Stuff (Chuck E. Weiss) 3:24
05 Bomb the Tracks (Tony Gilkyson / Chuck E. Weiss) 4:26
06 Exile on Main Street Blues (Mick Jagger / Keith Richards) 4:54
07 Kokamo (Boy Bruce) (Chuck E. Weiss) 3:27
08 Hey Pendejo (Chuck E. Weiss) 2:45
09 Dead Man's Shoes (Tony Gilkyson / Chuck E. Weiss) 4:16
10 Old New Song (Chuck E. Weiss) 3:53
11 The Hink-a-Dink (Chuck E. Weiss) 4:50
12 Oo Poo Pa Do in the Rebop (Chuck E. Weiss) 2:44
13 Willy's in the Pee Pee House (Michael Murphy / Chuck E. Weiss) 3:19
Γ Mike Bolger Trumpet
Γ Boo Vocals (Background)
Γ Judy Brown Vocals (Background)
Γ Jack Depp Vocals (Background)
Γ Johnny Depp Bass, Drums, Executive Producer, Guitar, Vocals (Background)
Γ Tony Gilkyson Composer, Guitar, Title
Γ Carlos Guitarlos Vocals (Background)
Γ Bill "Beano" Hanti Drums, Vocals (Background)
Γ Rachel Hathaway Vocals (Background)
Γ Don Heffington Drums, Percussion, Producer, Vocals (Background)
Γ Laura Heffington Photography
Γ J.J. Holiday Composer, Guitar
Γ Nathan Holmes Vocals (Background)
Γ Mick Jagger Composer
Γ Starling Jenkins Vocals (Background)
Γ Will MacGregor Bass, Composer
Γ Joey Malone Vocals (Background)
Γ Janice Markham Violin
Γ Nate Merritt Cover Design, Title Design
Γ Michael Murphy Composer, Piano
Γ Steve Nelson Bass
Γ Rip Rense Poetry
Γ Keith Richards Composer
Γ Jimmy Roberts Saxophone
Γ Coco Shinomiya Label Design
Γ Nick Vincent Drums
Γ Tom Waits Executive Producer
Γ Chuck E. Weiss Composer, Drums, Percussion, Producer, Vocals
Γ Bruce Witkin Bass, Mixing, Vocals (Background)
Γ CeCe Worrall Clarinet, Saxophone
Γ Keenan Wyatt Mixing
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ***½
♠ It’s been seven years since Chuck E. Weiss released 23rd & Stout, a set that drunk-walked between roots rock, vintage R&B, jump blues, zany experimentation, and post-Beat humor. Red Beans and Weiss marks the songwriter’s first album for Anti. It was self-produced, though it lists Tom Waits and Johnny Depp as executive producers.
Guitarist Tony Gilkyson, drummer Don Heffington, and pianist Michael Murphy all return. The personnel is fleshed out with bassist Will MacGregor and saxophonists Jimmy Roberts and CeCe Worrall-Rubin. For anyone who’s heard Weiss’ Rykodisc albums Extremely Cool ( February 2, 1999, ****) and Old Souls & Wolf Tickets (2001, ***), there will be much to enjoy here. Opener “Tupelo Joe” may have throwaway lyrics, but the scorching modern rockabilly slashed and burned through by Gilkyson’s guitar playing makes it more than worthwhile. The moderately funky hipster rap that is “That Knucklehead Stuff,” with its alternating honking sax and zinging guitar lines, is catchy as hell, as is its strutting counterpart, “Kokamo (Boy Bruce).” “Exile on Main Street Blues” is done in swaggering 1950s Chicago style. “Hey Pendejo” walks the line between bumping polka, East L.A. backyard mariachi, and a Catskills comedy routine. ♠ What works best here are the cuts where electric blues-boogie is the M.O. This band is tight and nasty, no matter how spaced out and loopy Weiss’ groove is. Check the strutting boogie in “Boston Blackie,” “Bomb the Tracks,” and “Dead Man’s Shoes”; they are electrified and worth the price of admission alone. The syncopated blues-jazz in “Oo Poo Pa Do in the Rebop” is complete with lyrics seemingly drawn from the world of an Iceberg Slim novel and a rhythm section that can’t be shaken. “The Hink-a-Dink” is a sinister moaning blues with Gypsy violin, Judy Brown’s wailing wordless soul backing vocal, and a moody male chorus moan all tossed in, but it works! Not everything does, however. “Shushie” is a noir-ish hepcat jazz number whose lyrics make a feral cat Weiss rescued into a terminal hipster. (The smoky saxophone solo is nice, though.) Closer “Willy’s in the Pee Pee House” is so dumb it could have just been left off altogether. That said, none of this is contrived — it’s all Chuck E. Weiss. Zany, unrepentantly retro, and drenched in an era that revivalists can’t touch, Red Beans and Weiss is a greasy, gritty report from one of L.A.’s last original rock & roll street denizens. It has a grimy charm all its own. © Chuck E. Weiss The Piano Bar Hollywood 27 August 2011, Photo credit: David Wala
Artist Biography by Cub Koda
♠ The ultimate scene-maker, Chuck E. Weiss has spent a career hobnobbing with the cool and famous in rock's hierarchy while barely pursuing a career of his own. Born in Denver, Weiss was originally a drummer, touring with bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins. By the late '60s, Weiss had performed and/or recorded with Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Roger Miller, and others. While still living in Denver, he struck up a friendship with singer/songwriter Tom Waits, later writing songs like "Spare Parts" with him and moving to Los Angeles. Living at West Hollywood's infamous Tropicana Motel with Waits and singer Rickie Lee Jones, Weiss became the subject of Jones' hit "Chuck E.'s in Love." Weiss' career finally stumbled off the launching pad with the 1981 release of The Other Side of Town, a collection of demo tapes released on Select Records. Rather than follow this up with a proper release, Weiss instead put together a band called the G-d Damn Liars and spent the next 11 years performing a weekly gig at the L.A. nightclub the Central and later partnered with friend Johnny Depp to convert the club into the Viper Room. After a 18-year hiatus from recording, Weiss' second album, Extremely Cool, was released on a Rykodisc subsidiary, Slow River, in 1999. Old Souls & Wolf Tickets appeared in 2001, followed by 23rd & Stout in 2007.
♠ Weiss spent the next six years performing in and around Los Angeles, occasionally touring. He re-entered the studio in late 2013 and emerged with the self-produced Red Beans & Weiss on Anti. The album's executive producers were actor Johnny Depp and singer/songwriter Tom Waits. REVIEW
By Gregory Adams
♠ It's been close to eight years since Chuck E. Weiss delivered his 23rd & Stout, but the veteran blues player is about to make his return. The solo artist's punnily titled Red Beans and Weiss will be his first for new label home Anti-, and it hits stores April 15.
♠ Weiss began work on the set back in the fall of 2012 following some encouragement from his friends Johnny Depp and Tom Waits, who both serve as executive producers on Red Beans and Weiss. Over the course of the next year and a half, Weiss wrote the record and split up recording sessions at Los Angeles studios the Village and Studio 80. Apparently, he thrived via a relaxed schedule with no real time constraints.
♠ "Listen, I enjoy the process, man," Weiss said in a statement. "The process of writing new songs and getting in the studio. There's nothing like it. Especially since this time around I didn't have somebody staring over me saying time's up, come back tomorrow. No time constraints. I made it on spec. Didn't feel like I had to rush through things."
♠ The 13-song set is currently being teased via first single "Boston Blackie," a raw blues tribute to the fictional thief of the same name that was adapted into novels, films and TV shows. You can hear that track down below.
♠ According to press materials, the set also has Weiss delivering a song about a feral cat he rescued ("Shushie"), saluting the Rolling Stones ("Exile on Main Street Blues") and discussing the politics of World War II ("Bomb the Tracks").
♠ "I've always been afraid to die," he said in reference to the latter. "When I was about 17 or 18 it occurred to me that, okay, these trains are going down the tracks to the death camps, and Russia and the U.S. and England have planes, so why didn't we bomb those tracks? So trains couldn't get to death camps. A mystery to me why it never happened." http://exclaim.ca/
♠ Written by American Songwriter April 8th, 2014 at 1:15 pm
|Chuck E. Weiss — Red Beans and Weiss (2014)|