Friday, October 17, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: The Mojo Gurus "Who Asked Ya?"

Who Asked Ya?
Red River Entertainment

Submitted for your approval — 
Dick Dale joins forces with New
York Dolls, The Tijuana Brass 
and Southern Culture on the Skids 
in a methadone clinic. Their 
mission  create the soundtrack 
to the latest Tarantino flick.
Get it? Good! Continue.

Singer, songwriter, street poet and storyteller Kevin Steele first ascended from the gutters of Tampa, Florida's back-alleys to attain international prominence during the late '80s as the frontman for MTV's favorite sleaze mongers, Roxx Gang. Yet despite being recognized by many in the press as the premier act of the arena rock genre, Roxx Gang was much closer stylistically to the New York Dolls than to its hair band contemporaries. In fact, Roxx Gang possessed butt-loads more street cred and authentic swagger than just about any other acknowledged "poster boys" of the era. As for Steele, his voice was unique — honest and pure. His lyrics were dark — his message and stories had an edge. Simply put, the "Gospel" preached by Kevin Steele was light years away from a "nothin' but a good time" sermon. 

The 1989 major label debut from Roxx Gang was 
arguably the "coolest" record of the decade.
By the mid '90s, public tastes had changed (rather, changed for them), and Roxx Gang was able to shed the shackles of its hair band past and shine as what it truly was — a beautifully track-marked rock and roll band. Following a series of lineup changes, Roxx Gang had morphed into an entirely new entity by the late '90s — an authentic blues-based combo known as The Mojo Gurus. And in 2014, the band delivers its fourth full-length record, Who Asked Ya? 

Produced by the Gurus, the record boasts 13 Steele-penned treasures that run the stylistic gamut from gutter rock to boogie woogie funk to Mexicali blues.

Kicking off with a hefty hunka-hunka burnin' rock, "Where You Hidin' Your Love" smacks of Rare Earth's classic "Get Ready" and makes for a mighty opener. 

Mojo Gurus' Doc Lovette and Kevin Steele.
"Hoodoo Man" and "Devil to Pay" are both downright stanky, harmonica / piano-laced nuggets that possess the aural sheen of Aerosmith (circa '75) and Southern Culture on the Skids (circa last Tuesday) respectively.

Noticeably reminiscent of Warren Zevon's "Carmelita," "No Damn Good" makes for one of the record's most unique moments, while the equally fiddle-fueled "Bad Attitude" packs the authentic old school punch of Johnny Gimble.

Additional highlights include "Someone Else Will" — a high-octane Little Richard-style house party rocker, 'The Last Rock 'N' Roll Show," which is delightfully reminiscent of The Stones' Goats Head Soup record and "C'mon Over To My House" a straight-up "Rock and Roll"-flavored, Dave Edmunds-inspired ditty.

In sum, The Mojo Gurus have delivered a bona fide rock and roll winner — one that'll kick ya, right where it counts!

-Christopher Long
(October 2014)

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  1. Thank you Sir. It's nice to be reviewed by someone who gets it. Rock On! - Kevin Steele

  2. LMFAO !!! Roxx Gang was terrible and Mojo Gurus is well,,,pedestrian