JUST LIKE MEDICINE
Singer-Songwriter Bares His Tattered Soul To The World.
OK let’s get it out in the open now; AJ Croce is the son of the legendary Jim Croce. Does that make a difference to what you are about to read? In theory no; but in practice yes; as you; like I, will sadly compare and contrast this singer-songwriter’s NINTH album with the work of his father whom he barely knew; as he died when the child was but 2 years old.
Hey…let’s get into the music and leave the rest for the historians and pedants.
I do love a strong album opener and Gotta Get Outta My Head ticks every box. A slow burning Bluesy N’Orleans Voodoo pot-boiler straight from the dark pits of the singers heart. A very naughty rhythm and a punchy piano combine with Croce’s raspy voice to draw you in like a moth to a flame.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise; but it was to see track #2 The Heart That Makes Me Whole is a co-write with family friend Leon Russell; as it sounds like Joe Cocker should have sounded on the Mad Dogs album; which makes it a winner at RMHQ.
When you check out the sleeve notes you find an array of household names make up AJ’s house-band (too many to name); and alongside the imperious production skills of the legendary Dan Penn their separate and combined qualities really shine on the tip o’ the hat to Randy Newman Full Up and the sultry Southern Soulful Hold You when Croce’s voice purrs and slurs like a Tom Cat on heat.
The track The Other Side of Love, with it’s rinky-dink almost Classical piano intro doesn’t just sound darkly beautiful but when you actually listen to the lyrics you know you are in the presence of a Master Craftsman.
To some degree Name of the Game is a song that this album hinges on; as it is the last complete song that Jim Croce completed, but never released. In my humble opinion it’s a brave decision for AJ Croce to include it here, as it casts a shadow over his own musings.
Without knowing the heritage the song fits in very well; but it’s actually Vince Gill’s sweet, sweet guitar playing that makes it stand out.
Our favourite song here though, is the beautiful title track Cures Just Like Medicine; touches spots I never expected to touch and showcases not just Croce’s writing skills but the full gamut of his vocal ministrations and a band so hot they actually sizzle in the background.
All in all this is the type of album I dream of buying; and just perfect for those warm Summer and Autumn nights when you just want the world to drift by on a haze of Mint Juleps and pine on the breeze.
Released August 11th 2017