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CD Review: "River's On Fire" - John "Papa" Gros

Saturday, January 21, 2017

 

"Papa" Gros is another that has been performing many years, but doesn’t have a bunch of releases under his moniker. The last name is pronounced “Grow”. This CD is all New Orleans. I love New Orleans, it’s the funkiest country I’ve ever been to. I was 19 the first time, me and a couple of buddies, “Hey! Let’s go to New Orleans!”. Our youth was both a curse and a blessing and many situations could have so easily gone different directions. We had barely ever been out of the woods, but found ourselves in the French Quarter first thing. We had never even seen a strip club before, but when the barker outside asked us, we were telling him how we practically grew up in them. We told him we weren’t going in, I don’t remember the lie we told him, but we were scared. We had no intention of going in there, and wouldn’t have…if he hadn’t called us pussies. God, we were rubes. My naïve hillbilly-ness met its end fairly rapidly and I’ve since been to New Orleans a handful of times without it. Carnival and Festival both scratched, still got an itch.
 
John’s mentor was Allen Toussaint, a man who is the reason for the quality of music in New Orleans, with help from many other folks like Pops, Sidney Bechet, the Meters and the ‘Fess.  The New Orleans can be heard in each of these 11 songs John wrote. Allen is most known for his songwriting and John took note of this important fact and has honed his skill accordingly. John plays all keys on this CD, which includes, but is not limited to, the piano, organ, Wurlitzer, clavinet, and synthesizer. He doubles as the french horn player, too, so there’s no telling where his hands have been.  This music is not the blues, but its great New Orleans, maybe a bit too watered down, but it has a few low-down dirty moments.  Maybe I needed to turn it up. Ouch, that sounded a lot like an old man. There are many excellent aspects here, the vocals, the guitar, sometimes 70’s wocka wocka, sometimes perfectly effects pedal laden, background vocals used the correct way. "All Night Cocaine and Chicken Fricassee" is a party and its followed by the come down of "Me and My Bottle This New Years Eve." Well done, "Papa."
 
♪♪♪♪      11 tracks        42 minutes          
Hear for yourself: 

 

Submitted by

Craig Whittington

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