Swampy Sexy Blues

Sister Moon (Independent)
Gypsy Switch

By Tim Roberts

Beware. A full-strength, all-at-once dose of Sister Moon from Louisville's Gypsy Switch can induce the need to make a pilgrimage to a voodoo shop in New Orleans to stock up on mojo candles and van-van oil and visit a cemetery to swipe a bottle full of graveyard soil. And if you can't take the trip, it makes you want to watch Angel Heart and turn down the sound so you can play the CD as your own soundtrack to it.

ister Moonis damned hypnotic and intoxicating: swampy blues songs that sail through a heady fog of lavender perfume, erotic gris-gris that walks with zombies and slow dances with Aphrodite. Consisting of vocalist Daphne Luster, Chet Surgener, Rick Ennis and Paul Hatchett, Gypsy Switch plays the kind of blues that doesn't make you want to slam back a shot of Bourbon and shout "Yeah" at the top of your lungs. Instead, it makes you want to take deep swallows of red wine and get up and grind your hips.

Throughout Sister, we get lots of Dobro and slide guitar, along with other types of traditional acoustic instrumentation and simple percussion, all of which backs the band's featured instrument: Luster's womanly-curves vocals.

The brief instrumental "Sunset" acts as an invocation to the entire recording, followed by "Black Cat Trail" and its sleepy use of the electric sitar from guest performer Warren Ray. Things perk up with the camp-meeting excitement of "When the Sun Goes Down." Later, there's a blues-rock explosion with "Get Behind Me," and the band steps out of the darkness for a few minutes with a breezy instrumental called "Moonstone" that features Peter Searcy on cello. Then things get swampy and mysterious again in the final two selections: the title track and the ambiguous "On Another Day."

Notable, too, is David Barrick's work in mixing and mastering the CD. Barrick was engineer and co-producer of The Mighty Jeremiahs self-titled recording and Taildraggers' Skeptictank from last year. Both were potent blasts of blues and rock, but one had a religious message and the other made you think of a long, hot night in a small crowded bar with loud music and sweat. Barrick was also behind John Mann's 2005 Hands in the Pavement. Like any good producer and engineer, he can shift his ears to match the general theme of what a band wants to do and coax out all the sounds the band is capable of making. Someone who can, in voodoo terms, walk among the worlds (with zombies, too, probably).

With its swampy blues sound in songs full of vague erotic mystery, Sister Moon from Gypsy Switch has something in common with concept records like Dark Side of the Moon, Rush's 2112, or Paul K's Wilderness of Mirrors: It gets deep into its sound and theme and drags you in with it.

You have no choice but to go.

Follow deep into the sound at www.gypsyswitch.com.