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VOODOO MOONSHINE Bottom Of The Barrel

By Terry Martinson, Contributor
Tuesday, February 6, 2024 @ 11:38 AM


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VOODOO MOONSHINE
Bottom Of The Barrel

Dark Star Records




How do everyone? As per my standard operating procedures, I would like to take a few moments of your time and introduce you to another in the never ending series of bands that are not in any limelight, nary mentioned in any music circles (though should be), but even though their exposure is limited at best, they are bands that I like to gravitate my time towards, with the ultimate hope of getting their wares in front of a few more eyes and ears. I like to refer to these unheralded gems as Martinsane's "Unknown, But Must Own".

This peacocking aside, please allow me the distinct pleasure of introducing you to a little ole rock n' roll band buried deep in the Everglades of Florida, VOODOO MOONSHINE and their debut longplay Bottom of The Barrel. The band has been kicking about for a hot minute, 2003 to be precise by lead guitarist, Jeff Losawyer and have had a sample sized taste of positive affirmations from their 2005 debut Decade of Decay that landed them in RIP magazine. The band, like so many before them faded into obscurity, but Jeff still held the fire and with the help of new vocalist Pedro Espada, VOODOO MOONSHINE was reborn in 2018. With this long play dropping 2022 and a little teaser, new music is afoot as I type and I do not think those inclined to give a look and listen will be disappointed in the least.

As you may have noticed from the band photo and album cover, the band is, to quote the Godfather of Rock in LA Bill Gazzarri, "they are sexy sexy dudes". They certainly are, and for 2024 I may add, look like they just stepped off the Greyhound bus to be bedazzled by the tinsel town lights of LA's Sunset Strip. The music we are about to traverse certainly takes this guy back to those doe eyed days, when life was as pure and simple as a February snow. Where the ladies we tried to get to know did our make up (because the key to meeting those lovelies was to look just like them), loaned us clothes and thank the stars, kept our bellies filled with food and adult beverages.

The album commences with a reboot of sorts of the song "Locked And Loaded" (video HERE), which appeared on their debut and to say this song should get your attention is a drastic understatement. This song is a sleazy, hard rock number, dripping with swagger and 80's strip substance. Sounding simultaneously like an amalgamation of every 80's hard rock band, but none of them at the same time, "Locked And Loaded" is a rump kicker and shaker with a solid chorus and Jeff certainly lets us know that he is a proficient hard rock guitarist. And I am sure I will say this a couple more times, but Pedro's voice, shut the front door, the guy is so very powerful, soulful and period perfect and clean, oh dear. Pretty special. "Give It To Me" continues the theme and as I tuck into this one I hear a heavy dose of BAD COMPANY, it is probably in the boogie woogie shuffle of the song and Pedro's vocals. Of course take that BAD COMPANY reference and toss in an equal part of the BULLETBOYS, SKID ROW, TORA TORA, SALTY DOG, THE SEA HAGS, and 400 others. Great song this one. "Bring It Down" downshifts a bit, still a rock n roller, but this one has a lot more SWEET FA, BULLETBOYS swagger to it, definitely get those hips moving and I rather enjoy the long sustaining power chords that hold the rhythm down while Pedro and company harmonize all over the top screaming "Oh my god, your so dirty!" Extra credit goes to the solo and the accompanying "oooh ooh ah ooh's" muttered over the top. This is a greasy track and is definitely a keeper. "Round And Round" slows us way down with a dum backed arena rocking, cigarette lighter ballad with that atypical call out to a lost love. Not a bad song and is reminiscent in its production to GUNS N' ROSES' "Patience" if Matthew and Gunner Nelson covered it, yep Pedro and the others harmonies are that good. The solo is nice with its slide solo overlaid with a fine example of a Slash-ish solo on top. I could definitely see the music video back in '88 for this one. "Sometimes You Just Wanna" is awesome. Slips right in all funky and sleazy, very reminiscent of early EXTREME and again SWEET FA. This one is absolutely what was required back in the day and would have earned the album its Parental Guidance advisory sticker, cuz "Sometimes you just want to F@&k".

"What a Way To Go" (video HERE) is another ballad, or a half ballad, as at the mid point the rest of the band slams right in and per the script we are now rollicking in the audience screaming the chorus to this period perfect anthem that was written just for each and every one of us, so it seemed. Pedro earns his Miljenko Matijevic, STEELHEART cred as his soaring vocals herein are something to be heard and appreciated. I wanted to pass this one off but there is no way to, it sneaks into the conscience and won't let go. The outro is nice and is reminiscent of something from CINDERELLA's Long Cold Winter. "Swallow My Pride" begins with a groovy drumming and riff overlay that is reminiscent of something T-REX and the D'MOLLS would have cooked up. It is quite a song littered with swagger, sweat, sexiness and is a sleazy rock n roller that has a great solo and the outro break from said solo has a great arena call back from all the bands instrumentalists and the triplets are awesome. After a few more spins this one really reminds me of the epic STOP STOP!. "Eden In Your Eyes" is like it appears an absolute heart wrenching love song/ballad. Featuring guitar and vocals only and once again I can hear NELSON writing and performing this one on their 'Because They Can' album. A very nice song that showcases Pedro's vocals. "Rise Free" slams the listener in the chest with a call back to earlier in the album and hard rocking harmony laden tune. This one for me is kind of meh, but it isn't bad, just not on par with the rest of the record to this point. The solo is real nice however and I could see the kids trying to slam dance and headbang to this one. "Y'all Come Back Soon" starts with a little reprise and what sounds like studio chatter that falls into a bluesy acoustic guitar riff soon to be accompanied by Pedro's bluesy singing. Very TORA TORA in my opinion, but the "ba da ba ba da bah's" are a real nice touch. The song stays in pocket, only guitar and vocals (maybe some shoe shuffling or box tapping in the distance) and I can see Pedro and Jeff busking on a Nashville street corner or maybe their grandma's front porch in Georgia picking this one out. It is nice, the relieving oneself at the outcome of the song could have been left on the DAT, but... The album should have wrapped right there, but in the version I have the band reprises "Eden In Your Eyes" but in an acoustic variant. It's fine and as previously mentioned Pedro can sing the phone book and win a Grammy and Jeff is a guitarists guitarist, both uber talented, it's just this version doesn't stray too far from the albums un-acoustic version just 3 songs prior. The band's website does have another version of Bottom of the Barrel that does not include this bonus track by the way.

So in conclusion, VOODOO MOONSHINE, they are a real solid band. I don't see anyone that longs for those nostalgic halcyon days in the mid to late 80's not spinning Bottom of the Barrel liberally and numerously, and of the utmost importance enjoying the hell out of it.

3.8 Out Of 5.0

https://www.facebook.com/voodoomoonshine
http://www.voodoomoonshinerocks.com/


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