Cowboy Mouth

Voodoo Shoppe | Eleven Thirty
By BRETT MILANO  |  March 21, 2006
3.5 3.5 Stars
Cowboy MouthIn recent years, Cowboy Mouth have created a niche for themselves as a New Orleans party machine. But they used to be something more: a roots band with a big heart, great songwriting, a wide stylistic reach, and a crazed drummer. That’s the Cowboy Mouth who reappear on Voodoo Shoppe, the first real band effort in a long while (singer/drummer Fred LeBlanc made most of the last album, Uh-Oh, by himself). LeBlanc’s mile-wide personality is still much in evidence, but now the songs are all co-written, vocal harmonies are back, and everybody gets a turn up front. Singer/guitarist John Thomas Griffith, once of the Clash-inspired Red Rockers, gets his best moment on “Joe Strummer,” a song about the need to get rid of a girlfriend who’s never heard of the Clash. It's both a worthy tribute and a modern rock hit waiting to happen. Punk roots are also echoed in “Misty Falls,” which nicks its guitar solo from Eddie & the Hot Rods’ “Do Anything You Wanna Do.” After a few more wild rockers, they add a welcome shot of swamp funk on the title track. The closing Katrina-inspired trilogy is angry, sad, and most of all hopeful, with LeBlanc’s ballad “The Avenue” hitting a jazz-funeral groove as he promises “the marching bands will roll, and I plan on growing old on the avenue.” Inspiring stuff, and still a hell of a party album.
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