Time For Some WOW

The Unfortunate Rake Vol. 2 (Copper Creek)
The Crooked Jades

By Larry Alexander

When asked to review this, I had no idea what was ahead. While I am a four-plus traditional music fan, I have grown very weary of the cookie-cutter presentations of late. Where is the originality? Where is the unique sound? Where is the creativity?

Well, I found it.

The Crooked Jades have brought me back to believing that original thinkers still exist. All I can say is, WOW. A group with great arrangements of traditional tunes plus some original works? Definitely. Musical talent abounds with a cornucopia of instruments, including a Hawaiian slide guitar embellishing every tune. The band members say they feel a kinship to old-time bands of the 1920s that used an eclectic mix with flair. Well, they do it.

"A Broken Tune," by Adam Tanner happens to be an exquisite fiddle tune. In fact, great fiddle playing dominates this album. Directly following that on the album is "Love Got in the Rain," written and sung by Jeff Kazor - sort of country with a bluegrassy overlay. The eclectic mix is typical of this most entertaining album.

Richard Buckner provides vocal for "Old Man Below" and sounds a lot like Jeb of Donna the Buffalo (yes, that's a compliment). The Crooked Jades then deliver a little bit of hand jive with a single quill in "Uncle Rabbit." "Yellow Mercury No.1," written and performed by Jeff Kazor, features a totally beautiful harmony. "Yellow Mercury No. 2" is an exquisite instrumental piece with the dulcimer and piano setting the tone. "Indian Ate a Woodchuck" is an instrumental piece as well, highlighting the musical talents of the group. The signature tune here, however, is "Unfortunate Rake" with traditional lyrics and original music and a pleasant blend of instrumentation. "Rake" speaks to the tragedy of syphilis and the cure of syphilis with mercury. This is a miniature history of mankind through music. True traditional music.

Do not pass up the opportunity to experience WOW again. And I am going to find out where I can experience The Crooked Jades live.