Personnel: Terry Adams (vocals, piano, harpsichord, organ, marimba); Klem Klimek (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Donn Adams (trombone, tambourine); Tom Ardolino (drums).
Audio Mixers: Alan Stockwell; Billy Shaw.
Liner Note Author: Donn Adams .
Recording information: Louisville Recording Arts, Louisville, KY; Soundesign, Brattleboro, VT.
Photographer: Jeff Benko.
Fans of America's longest-lived cult band, NRBQ, will instantly recognize the names of the two principals here as founding members of the group: Terry Adams has been the keyboardist, guiding light and resident eccentric genius of the Q since the late '60s and guitarist Steve Ferguson appeared on the band's first couple of albums before being replaced by Big Al Anderson. Adams and Ferguson never lost touch, and on occasion Ferguson has turned up at a Q gig, much to the delight of the hardcore. Since NRBQ never really veered from its original vision -- melding together all that is great about American indigenous roots music (early rock & roll, vintage R&B, country when it was country, classic Top 40 and pre-'80s pop, avant-garde jazz, boogie-woogie, novelty tunes and whatever else feels right at the time) and then obliterating the lines between all of those genres -- it should come as no surprise that this duo project feels like a long-lost NRBQ album. The track list flits merrily from doo wop (the Orioles' "It's Too Soon to Know") to Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" to Jimmie Rodgers ("Mule Skinner Blues") to Tiny Bradshaw ("South of the Orient"). There are also Ferguson and Adams originals (and vocals from both), but no matter what the pair takes on, it comes out sounding musically inventive, unpredictably open-ended and tons o' fun. NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino gives the sessions the same giddily ambling looseness that he brings to the band, and a horn section featuring Donn Adams, Terry's brother, punctuates the mixes with a soulful strut. Several tracks, not only the Monk tune but the Dixieland-esque "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" (done previously by Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and others) and the opening "Peanut Vendor," cut before by, again, Armstrong, plus Duke Ellington and others, tilt toward the jazzy end of the spectrum, and even those that don't, such as Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'," the R&B staple (a big hit for Tommy Tucker originally) "Hi Heel Sneakers," and Terry Adams' own "Knucklehead," often take off on unexpected adventures. ~ Jeff Tamarkin