When the domestic release of the Continental Drifters' debut Vermillion was held up for nearly two years for lack of a distributor in the U.S., it proved well worth the wait. Better Day wasn't forced to sit on a shelf like its predecessor, but the rewards are (only slightly) less. With five of its six members sharing songwriting duties this time out, the Continental Drifters certainly don't suffer from a lack of fine material. Susan Cowsill's "Someday" is perhaps the one tune that rises head and shoulders above the others with its spirited drive and a prickly 12-string guitar solo, and Vicki Peterson's reading of Cowsill's heartbreaking ballad "Snow" is truly exquisite; surely one of her best vocals to date. Peterson's own country waltz "That Much a Fool" gets a similar nod from Cowsill. Living in New Orleans has apparently affected Peter Holsapple the most though. His songs possess a distinctive R&B flavor and his voice possesses a classic soul vibe. His own horn arrangements grace the soulful "Live on Love" and his roadhouse rocker "Too Little, Too Late" is played over top a zydeco shuffle. Better Day succeeds in its sheer number of good songs and good performances. What makes it less appealing than Vermillion is difficult to pin down -- perhaps the novelty of a group of this kind actually coming together from so many different origins is wearing off. As long as the songs are there though, it's not something that should really worry anyone.
Better Day Review
by John Duffy