Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues editor @ mary4music.com
"In It For the Long Haul" is not just the name of Pat Pepin's latest release. They are the very words that she lives by and it's a phrase she confidently uses to describe her career in the music business. In a business that's short on longevity, those are some tough words. On the other hand, Pat's a tough gal. Just ask her where she's from and she'll proudly say "I'm from Maine, where the men are men and the women are too." With an attitude like that, along with having a mastery over the tenor sax, outstanding vocal talents and a great songwriting ability, I believe Pat Pepin may just live up to her motto.
On "In It For the Long Haul" Pat Pepin on vocals, tenor sax, acoustic guitar, soprano sax and trombone, is joined by: Bob Colwell on piano, organ, bass and clarinet; Steve Jones on guitar, bass, dobro, banjo and tambourine; Dave Thibodeau on bass; Richard Hollis on drums, conga and tambourine; Pat Colwell on lead guitar; Angela Plato on trumpet. The disc features a dozen tracks, of which nine are Pat Pepin originals. Showcasing her versatility, the songs cover many styles of blues.
One of her originals, "Don't Call Me Baby, Baby", features Pat doing two of the things she does best..... telling off a man and blowin' the hell out of her sax, and she may be at discs best on the latter. This one also features a great rhythm groove and several hot piano highlights.
You'll feel like you're strollin' down Bourbon Street when "Can't Take it With You" comes on. This is a nice mix of Cajun Blues and Dixieland Jazz and showcases Pat's sense of humor in her writing. The lyrics are a hoot and the horns are hot on this party style sing-a-long.
Be careful if you're driving when this one comes on. This smokin' Texas style blues will make you feel like a "Long Haul Trucker", speeding along on I-10 in a rush to get to San Antonio. This one's a no holds barred jam with everyone's pedal to the metal. Great lead guitar, fiery rhythm and flame throwin' sax all highlight this one.
This track has Pat wondering what a lot of us are wondering these days...."Why Me?". I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that Pat's got this jazz lounge, singer thing down pat. This one's all her. With the band in a smooth and tight jazz groove behind her, she shines on vocals and sax.
It wouldn't be a Pat Pepin disc without a song written, or made famous by, the great Etta James. This time she chose the very beautiful "Sunday Kind Of Love". Once again, it's her vocals and sultry sax riffs that highlight this soft, slow and very sexy ballad. The slow dancers are going to just love this one.
Before I tell you about the closing track, the one referred to as the "bonus novelty track", let me set it up a bit. Ya see, like many blues musicians, Pat Pepin travels the country in a van. Hers is a mini RV with a vanity license plate affectionately displaying it's name - PATIBGO (pictured on the back of the CD cover). Having - on many occasions - taken advantage of a major national retailers very relaxed policy towards RVer's, she was inspired to write "Living At Wal-Mart". It's an incredibly clever and extremely humorous "jingle" about spending nights at what she calls "America's free campground". You're just gonna have to hear it to appreciate it.
Other tracks on "In It For the Long Haul" include: "Can't Be Satisfied", "Can't Take It With You", "Till Death Do Us Part", "This Dress", "Left Me Lonely" and "Ain't What You Got" .
Now that Deanna Bogart has made women saxophone players winning Blues Music Awards a common thing, could it be long before another one does? Pat Pepin doesn't think so. If you want to hear why, check her out at www.patpepin.com. Hopefully you'll tell her how and why you're visiting.....the Blewzzman sent you and you want to buy a copy of "In It For the Long Haul".
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com