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CD: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - Pills and Ammo
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While still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes' trademark, and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, this new CD has a sharper, guitar-oriented, rock and roll feel to it. A harder edge for harder times.
Southside has written all the songs on Pills and Ammo in collaboration with Jukes keyboard player, Jeff Kazee, and together they explore a more personal approach than some previous records. At times angry, at times reflective, this album is a true reflection of the singer's state of mind. Titles like "Lead Me On," "Heartbreak City" and "You Can't Bury Me" contain some of the more acidic lyrics, while "Thank You" and "Place Where I Can't Be Found" show an inner-directed emotional touch.
But, as always, the sheer joy of making music is obvious throughout Pills and Ammo. Tunes like "Umbrella in My Drink" with guest vocals by Gary Bonds; "Keep on Movin'," a homage to Jerry Lee Lewis and the early rockabilly sound; and "One More Night to Rock" all place the band in their classic, jubilant "let's play all night" mood. And the band has never sounded better. Aided by old accomplice Shawn Pelton and new conspirator Andy York, the Jukes rip through these 12 numbers with total abandon and fierce energy, as is their wont.