Joe West & The Santa Fe Revue – Blood Red Velvet

Joe West & The Santa Fe Revue
Blood Red Velvet

Interesting but eclectic assortment of Americana songs

I’d been struggling to get a handle on this album by Joe West when I ‘accidentally’ read a review which caused me to re-evaluate my thoughts ; until I came to the conclusion that the review came from someone close to the band; as it was nothing like what I was hearing.

After a career in the theatre West turned to music in 1999 and subsequently ‘shared a stage’ (i.e supported) many famous names in the Americana world; releasing several critically acclaimed (in Texas) albums but now creates ‘projects’ of which BLOOD RED VELVET appears to be the latest.

Perhaps six of the thirteen tracks here are very good; especially Pink Nun on which he duets with Felicia Ford;Don’t Let ‘Em Get You Down which has some very clever and intelligent lyrics; and finally the title track Blood Red Velvetwhich straddles the Alt and Country sounds exceptionally well; with an atmospheric accordion and guitar backing.

In some ways the album sounds a bit like a Film Soundtrack as the best song on the album; I Got it All is a rocking Roadhouse belted out by Lori Ottinho that sounds like nothing else here.

Then we get two tracks Franks Time Travel Experiment which is a weird talking Blues by West himself; but The Glory Days of Dona Dillenschneider spoken by Dona herself sounds like a snippet from a bad Tarantino movie and doesn’t deserve a second listen.

And the album ends with a nice folk song, Don’t Let Us Get Sick sung by Margaret Burke; but just like the Lori Ottinho track; sticks out like a sore thumb.

Perhaps there’s a clue in the band’s name – Revue and this is meant to showcase an assortment of talents; but it makes for difficult listening as it jumps from genre to genre with no single thread to hang on to.

Frogville FVR-0067

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