“Tell the world not to turn, tell the hammer not to hit, tell the fire not to burn, but Never Tell Me to Quit.
Sid Beam’s title track sets up Gumbo’s debut album, Never Tell Me to Quit. The members of Gumbo, Sid Beam, Joe Casprowiak, and David Fournier have been honing their musical craft individually for 40 years. Playing together for the past five, they have hit a groove that comes across loud and clear in their first album.
With thoughtful and sometimes surprising instrumentation, Gumbo weaves both subtle and distinct phrasing into Sid Beam’s beautiful adventures in songwriting. Clarinet is not a common lead instrument in modern Americana, but nothing about Gumbo is common, so if it’s a surprise, it’s a welcome one. David Fournier’s creative bass contributions are the absolute underpinning in every track. On Hound Dog Chorus, his inventiveness comes through in a playful and mischievous hook that resurfaces throughout the song.
Sid Beam has an equally unusual mastery of a vintage gypsy-jazz style of guitar playing. If there is another split-second available to move to another chord form, or add another flurry of accent notes, he does it, and the effect is a joyous and infectious pulse, adding an undeniable energy to every song.
Dave Feinberg and Vinny Ray appear on the album as guest musicians. Dave Feinberg’s vintage-style piano enriches all 12 tracks, and Vinny Ray’s violin on Travelin’ is nothing short of inspiring. It is impossible to imagine the finished album without their contributions.
9 of the 12 songs on the album are Sid Beam originals. One of the three vintage covers is the 50-year old Stan Freberg tune, ‘Money’, which Sid has updated as a ‘Tribute to Wall Street’. It is an engaging and energetic romp of a song ironically appropriate for the current state of the economy.