By James Calemine
Scrapomatic is a band full of seasoned professionals. Mike Mattison (vocals) and Paul Olsen (guitars/vocals) are old friends. The rhythm section—Ted Pecchio on bass and Falcon Greenwell on drums—both are veterans of Susan Tedeschi and Colonel Bruce Hampton’s bands. Dave Yoke plays guitar, and is the latest member to join Scrapomatic.
Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, Sidewalk Caesars is the band’s second Landslide Records release with 11 original songs. Mattison also sings lead vocals in Derek Trucks’ band. Trucks makes a guest appearance on the first track “He Called My Name”, a gritty blues number.
Scrapomatic proves from the start their music is steeped in the blues, but these guys operate at a high-degree of expertise…no sloppiness can be heard on this disc. “Drink House” swings in a way that might appeal to mainstream audiences even though the song remains blues soaked. “Killing Yourself On Purpose” ranks as electric front porch music that contains a jazzy smoothness.
Derek Trucks contributes his virtuosity on “I Want the Truth”, which will most likely earn continual airplay. “Remember This Day” fits on the R & B side of the music spectrum. “Long Gone” aims for the Friday night rock and roll twang that evokes a desperate spirit.
“Hook, Line And Sinker” returns to the laid back R & B territory, which should sound popular with the ladies…a very important element in rock and roll. “The Old Whiskey Show” blends country, R & B and Mattison’s soulful vocals to convince the listener this band must be seen live. A rollicking version of Skip James’ "Drunken Spree” injects a little country into the textbook blues ditty.
“Long-Haired State” captures a spirit of the group which indicates they earned a slew of new fans this year on Derek Truck and Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival tour. The final track, “Good Luck with Your Impossible Dream” is a quiet, soulful song. Mattison’s lyrics fits perfect with the melody, and as the track fades it’s like an old friend taking a slow train out of town…you hate to see them go.
Scrapomatic’s Sidewalk Caesars contains a high-grade shot of honest authenticity….