Ike Cosse

The Lowdown Throwdown

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Ike Cosse's debut for London-based JSP came about after the label's owner heard a copy of the bluesman's self-produced cassette. With The Lowdown Throwdown, Cosse proved capable of attacking the full range of blues styles; "Dog Dang Shoot" is straight Chicago material, while "Hell to Pay" offers James Brown-style funk and "Let It Happen" recalls classic R&B balladry. What's most appealing about The Lowdown Throwdown is Cosse's lyrical directness; he prefers plain speech over metaphor, describing experiences with past romantic conquests ("I Just Wanna Rent") and strip club employees ("Bang Bang Girls") with humor and frankness. Cosse's vocals are a bit on the thin side, which is especially troublesome when he writes above his range, as on "My Baby's So Cynical." But after all, Cosse isn't setting out to be the next Bobby "Blue" Bland; he comes across on The Lowdown Throwdown as a highly individual entertainer confident in his ability to make the audience relate to his songs. Each time you start to think he's sounding too full of himself, he lets loose with a brilliant bit of self-deprecating humor. And he's not above completely hamming it up when necessary, as on one perfect couplet from "You're the Man," which recounts his attempt to move back home after leaving his father's house: "My door is always open to you for dinner/But your room is now the aerobics center."

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