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Snarky Dave And The Prickly Bluesmen – Big Snark | Album Review

Snarky Dave And The Prickly Bluesmen – Big Snark.
Self-produced CD.
9 songs – 33 minutes.

Snarky Dave Brenton is a musician with attitude as his name implies, and he delivers plenty of it in this brief CD. Whether you agree with his wise old owl Snarkasm or not is a matter of personal choice, but he lays it all on the line with the all-original material he and his band have produced.

Brenton is a former airline pilot from Delaware who’s been playing hand-crafted Taylor guitars for more than four decades. His regular weekend jams at a private hanger on his Dragonfly Air Ranch in Townsend are locally legendary. Although he doesn’t profess to be a great picker and he refuses to play cover tunes, he views himself as a creative wordsmith with a unique sound.

He and the Prickly Bluesmen – Rick Beck on Hammond B-3 organ, Bobby Barr on bass and Chris Foltz on percussion – are a tight quartet. They take off like a rocket on the rock tinged “Caucasian Blues,” a funky complaint about a former lover running her mouth about him all over town after he’s lost everything after a corporate layoff. She’s the reason, Dave says, that “the old guy who’s white singin’ blues.” The complaints multiply with “Bitchin’,” a profanity laced, tongue-in-cheek love song in which the singer claims he does everything to keep her happy, but can’t do anything to stop her harangue. The song’s laced with a steady verbal chorus of complaint from Tina Werner, Diane Kendrick and Justine Huey. It continues into the fade at song’s end.

A driving bottom fuels “Big Girl,” another love song, which draws a bead on a large, older target. It includes the lyrical hooks: “I need a big girl to carry me ‘round the world just like you” and “don’t want a too hot to handle, too cold to hold just like you.” The mood gets somber for “Mother And I,” which Snarky Dave recounts the conversation with a son after a divorce, and expresses the singer’s desire to keep details of marital strife away from the boy. Joey Fulkerson adds haunting overtones on E-bow guitar. The funk kicks in again on “Doggone Fool” Jay Heath contributes a solid tenor sax line as Snarky Dave sings about becoming aware of his blessings, and trying to repent for unspoken past mistakes. “Pick It Up” provides another complaint about whining and feeling sorry for one’s self, but turns it into a tough lesson to one’s self about facing life head-on because there “will be better things to deal with today.”

“Mike Sully’s Boogie” is dedicated to a lost friend. On one hand it appears to be a song about an attempted pick-up in a bar, but on the other, appears to be an approach for a simple barroom conversation. “Makes No Sense” is an unvarnished statement about the state of the world — up is down/down is up – before the disc concludes with an acoustic version of the album opener, retitled “Caucoustic Blues.”

One listen to this CD will prove that Snarky Dave definitely has some things to get off his chest. Whether you agree with his message or not, the music, albeit short at 33 minutes, definitely won’t offend. A nice, tight presentation that leaves you wanting more.

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