The Soggy Po’ Boys No Worse For Wear
(SPB-003. Review by Jon Carvell)
Although boasting a convivial spirit to rival that of slick cocktail party favourites The Hot Sardines, The Soggy Po’ Boys like things a bit rougher around the edges. This sousaphone-powered octet from New Hampshire is more microbrewery ale than peach daiquiri. Think Hot 8 Brass Band, but with generally darker subject matter and fewer Marvin Gaye covers.
The Soggy Po’ Boys’ new album No Worse for Wear begins with a strutting New Orleans funeral march in 80 Lives, with Stuart Dias howling mournfully “I’m a losing battle, sweep me up with your broom. I’m an unknown soldier in an unmarked tomb.” But it’s not all doom and gloom, The Soggy Po’ Boys can also whip up something raucous when required, be it a Latin romp in Hear and Know or the boisterous Linguica.
One of the catchiest songs on the disc is Plenty of Time, brought off in the style of 1970s Tower of Power – a surprisingly successful departure from the bayou vibe. However, the Soggy Po’ Boys are at their strongest on the final instrumental Good Enough to See It. This closing time number is shot-through with a feeling of sanguine resignation, and a lovely trumpet solo captures the sense of a world put to rights.
Although New Hampshire isn’t the most obvious home for a group so devoted to the culture of The Big Easy, the Soggy Po’ Boys seem genuine in their ambition to spread the word about jazz New Orleans style, and they’re creating an accessible and fun way into this world. So raise a glass to the Soggy Po’ Boys and this very enjoyable disc.