Washboard Chaz Blues Trio: ‘On the Street’

by Carl Abernathy on October 23, 2011

The Washboard Chaz Blues Trio’s latest recording, “On the Street,” sounds dated and delightful.

Listen and it’s not hard to imagine them playing on a street corner in New Orleans in the ’30s &#151 or, for that matter in Tupelo, Chicago or Washington, D.C., because the band blends the sounds of the Crescent City with Delta, Piedmont and Chicago blues. But songs such as “Doing Bad” and “Pick Yourself Up” would resonate with the Occupy Wall Street crowd just as much as they would have with Great Depression victims.

The tunes are hardly downers, though; it’s hard to get depressed when you listen to songs with such spirit. On the title track, for example, Washboard Chaz Leary sounds empathetic as he sings about the hard life of street buskers. Both the lyrics and the upbeat instrumentals, however, reflect the resolute spirit of a group of folks determined to forge ahead.

Andy J Forest sings lead on a couple of tunes, too, but it’s his harmonica coupled with the feisty guitar of St. Louis Slim that makes listeners feel as if they’re heading to a party on Frenchmen Street.

“On the Street” is a wonderful album rooted in the past. It still sounds mighty fresh in 2011, though. Guess that makes the music timeless.

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