Coolgrass – Jaguar Breakdown CD review by Chris Spencer
Coolgrass are a bluegrass band, perhaps a bit more sophisticated that just a comedy band. Not having seen them live, I can only judge them on this cd. In addition to their own songs and parodies, Coolgrass tackle the likes of Mozart, Mancini, Chuck Berry, Duke Ellington and many more in a tongue-firmly-in-cheek bluegrass style. They released an earlier album called “Toad Rage” in 2004. This album has been named after one of the band member’s car that apparently keeps breaking down. (I wonder if someone will write about Toyota’s reliability in the same manner sometime in the future!) The liner notes relate that this CD includes some old favourites like “Tico Tico” and “The Breeze” and a couple of originals in “No-One Takes me Serious Anymore” and the title track. The covers include “Tumbling Tumbleweeds”, the Queen classic “Fat Bottomed Girls”, James Brown’s “I Feel Good”; “I Am a Pilgrim” (Merle Travis); and “The Timewarp” from the Rocky Horror Show. There’s a medley of reels & jigs and a segue into Orange Blossom Special on one song. Both “Tico Tico” and “The Breeze” (written by JJ Cale) seem to me to be recorded as the way they originally recorded (ie normal covers! with usual bluegrass instrumentation). I think what’s missing on this CD is some of the interaction one might between the musicians when performing live. Not being a bluegrass fan, I’m unsure if I could recommend this CD to fans of that genre. If you like to be entertained, from what I’ve read, the band are good fun on stage. If you are a fan of good musicianship and traditional bluegrass music, you may find this CD a bit hard to take. If on the other hand you enjoy good playing in the bluegrass style, but with a bit of irreverence in the selection of the songs, this could be highly entertaining.