Bryan Hurst & The Lolligaggers - Waiting For Favors

Wait No Longer

Waiting for Favors
Bryan Hurst & the Lolligaggers (ear X-tacy Records)

By Tim Roberts

The ending years of this decade have seen the proliferation of the singer-songwriter. Once the exclusive bards of coffee-houses and small venues, these are the folks who keep low-fi alive with sometimes not much more than a guitar, a microphone and a head full of original music. And if one of them puts together the right backup band that integrates with the performer, instead of just being musical wallpaper, the results are the perfect balance of craft and showmanship.

One of the outstanding aspects of the singer-songwriter genre is that you get to experience performers like Bryan Hurst 8: the Lolligaggers. This one, Waiting for Favors, like many others in the genre, represents the best it has to offer: honest lyrics about real people and real feelings, wry humor, catchy song hooks, and its sound — that melding of country with a thin wild streak of barroom folk and simple rock that washes down fresh and cool and sweet like lemonade on a scorching summer day.

The songs' lyrics do not whine or contain a single line of self-pity. They speak of action, of change, of driving "away all these doubts I've been keepin' / And keep my mind on better things" in the opening track, of awaiting his chance in the limelight with a little package of work that's "crawling from the wreckage of too many rhymes" in the title track. Plus he works in a couple of references to local doings: flags flying half-mast after the death of Bill Dopp, a.k.a TV's Presto the Clown in "Deadbeat Town," and reliving himself in the sink of a famous large local nightclub that's always too crowded and too expensive for him in "I Can't Afford this Place."

And, oh, the local talent (and out-of-town guests) he has backing him. Hurst has smartly assembled a backing band made up of the city's A-list musicians. The Lolligaggers consist of Butch Morgan, Jim Baugher, Peter Rhee, Gene Wickliffe and David Barrickman. Tim Krekel, Michael Murphy, Morris Ledet (husband of zydeco sweetheart Rosie), Randy Shipley and Dave Marasco also contribute outstanding work. Laura Shine adds her sharp, exact harmonies to several cuts. The whole sound is tight and clean. The three-note riff under the verses of "Spanish House" rings like chimes made of diamonds.

With its musicianship, smart lyrics, and invaluable production quality, Waiting for Favors is 13-song Charles Atlas bodybuilding course for the genre. It gives weight and power behind singer-songwriting.