It's hard to write about people you know personally. Actually, it's a Catch-22 if you write good things about them, people will consider you prejudiced; if you write bad things, you may alienate a friend. So the best thing to do is to be truthful.
I first heard the Boogeymen in 1998 after moving to Knoxville. I didn't know who they were at the time, but their live show was contagious: Outside of Widespread Panic, the Boogeymen are one of the few bands I'll dance to. This may explain why they were BMI Showcase finalists in 1996 and 1997.
They're also some cool cats. Lead guitarist and vocalist Lebron Lazenby heads the Wednesday night blues jam at Sassy Ann's, Knoxville's premier blues bar, and on any given week, keyboardist Mark Caldwell and new bassist Andy Lewis join the jam.
So it was with a slight anticipation that I began listening to their new disc "Sister Blue," featuring former members Doug Cole on bass and Mike Ryan on drums. The disc showcases 13 original cuts, though one tune, "Call My Name," appeared on a widely distributed cassette, "Hey Watchiss!" If this debut disc is any indication, the Boogeymen are ready for the next millennium.
Sister Blue finds the band in fine form starting with "Going Down," a Southern fried rocker with a rhythmic feel. I kept waiting for the band to break loose on this one its live version is much better. "Troubled Blues" combines a stomp with a Latin percussion feel, set off by Lazenby's soulful moan. The aforementioned "Call My Name" would make a great radio song that could get people bouncin' in their seats as they're driving down the interstate.
Unfortunately, "Tell Me When" slows things down considerably with an almost sappy lovesickness, and "I'm Angry" just sounds sad. "Jagerman" is an instrumental masterpiece featuring Ben Phillippi's percussive rhythms, Lazenby's smokin' guitar and Caldwell's raindrop piano. Though Lazenby seems primarily influenced by the Chicago blues sound, one can detect shades of Stevie Ray Vaughan in his playing in the midst of "Killian's Dream." On a lighter side, "Genny X" is a hilarious Beatlesque look at sex in the '90s.
All in all, this disc is a great demonstration of the Boogeymen. If they can ever harness their live sound on disc, look out! (BTW, Mark tells me he's got a backlog of material to cull for a live album. Prepare yourself, Southern brethren).
Editors note: This album can be found in Museka, a store of Southern independent artists. Southern Sounds and Museka are mutually exclusive entities.
Copyright © The Southerner 1999.