Recording > Aural Pleasure
You wanted an album review, Bick Brickey. You got it. Charmed by Brickey’s handwritten note that accompanied the aged San Antonio songwriter’s debut album, prodded by his repeated voicemails, and intrigued by the presence of Texas Tornados Max Baca, Flaco Jimenez, and Augie Meyers in the musical credits, we tried repeatedly to give the handpressed CD a listen. To accomplish this, we had to find a player that would actually take the disc (three computers promptly spit it out), and force ourselves to ignore the mechanical whirring noise it produced. Thankfully, we’re told the album is available in mp3 format on iTunes. Once past those hurdles, Brickey and Baca certainly deliver on the Texas blues and country-tear-jerker front. Most songs feature love-stung women and lonely men, delivered in Rebecca Valadez’s vampy Texas twang. After 43 years of songwriting, Brickey doesn’t add anything new to his beloved classic country and blues genres, instead writing songs so traditional they could be mistaken for covers. For the first few bars of “Freight Train Blues,” we thought we were listening to a new rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Also, for an album boasting a songwriter with nearly half a century of practice and a Grammy-award winner as producer, we found the simple rhyming lyrics and muddy production disappointing, even for a locally recorded debut. We do agree with Brickey’s enthusiastic letter of self-recommendation on this point: The musicians are excellent — not only Jimenez, Meyers, and Baca on their respective instruments (though Baca’s efforts at drums and bass lag), but also Joe Saracene on slide guitar and Frenchie Burke and Bobby Flores on fiddle. Valadez adds lighthearted sass to Brickey’s sad-bastard lyrics, and we appreciate the old man’s attempts at writing from a woman’s perspective, all of which keeps this (let’s face it) vanity project afloat as fitting music to drift with into a Hill Country happy hour.