If one takes a peek at the cover of Fools and Fine Ladies, one might guess that Jon Shain is either a blues player or a folksinger. Indeed, the first cut, "Like the Ocean," offers a little bit of both. But "Fine Ladies" lets the listener know that Shain has a few other musical tricks up his sleeve. This country-rocker reminds one of the Rolling Stones at their most decadent, somewhere between "Country Honk" and "Dead Flowers." "Pawnshop Girl" continues in the same vein, exploiting John Currie's stylish dobro work. It's the straightforward production, along with Shain's rough, soulful vocals, that makes the project hold together so well. The only downside to this catchy, sloppy rock that harks back to the early '70s is that these songs include a healthy dose of sexism. It's as though Shain has adopted the old-fashioned attitudes to complement the classic style. Acoustic guitar gives a nice edge to "Govinda's in the Rain," while the bluesy, late-night mood of "Luck Don't Come Easy" recalls Leon Russell at his best. The strong songs and good accompaniment make Fools and Fine Ladies a good sophomore effort. So unless one has the good fortune to catch Shain live in North Carolina or Virginia, this album offers an excellent way to enjoy his music.
Fools and Fine Ladies Review
by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.