Rob Roy Parnell

Let's Start Something

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Rob Roy Parnell's Texas roadhouse music has been keeping dancefloors jammed with sweaty, satisfied patrons for a long time. Waylon Jennings sang with him on "Jacksboro Highway," his 2000 debut as a leader, and Delbert McClinton thought enough of him to lend him his band for this outing, a smoking blend of blues, R&B, boogie-woogie, and soul music. "I Know Better" kicks things off with a jump blues accented by James Pennebaker's frosty guitar work, a horn section supplying New Orleans style horn stabs, and Parnell's nasty harmonica. "Rose Petals" is a three-chord, slow drag love song that sounds like it was rescued from a '50s jukebox. Kevin McKendree's piano triplets complement Parnell's soulful vocals. Pennebaker's blazing guitar and Parnell's harp work remind us that it's not 1950 with their modern attack. Percy Mayfield's "Loose Lips" is given a Texas-meets-New Orleans rhumba beat. Parnell delivers the lyric with a sly growl and another sultry harp solo. Parnell's brother, country maverick Lee Roy Parnell, contributes his icy slide guitar work to "Long Distance Love," a solid Texas roadhouse blues stomper. Parnell's harp and McKendree's big B-3 play off each other on the slinky "Texas Love Machine" before Parnell takes flight with his down-and-dirty solo. "That's All She Wrote," the tale of a no good husband sneaking in after a night out, has a sassy Huey "Piano" Smith feel, while uptempo numbers like "If I Were You" and "Come on Li'l Baby" keep the energy rolling with their high-octane grooves and Parnell's polished harp work. There's not a weak track on the album, and the tunes, mostly Parnell originals, show an impressive command of blues idioms.

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