Nick Curran & the Nitelifes

Doctor Velvet

Nick Curran leads his top-notch Nitelifes through another impressive CD of vintage-sounding, swing-influenced r&b, blues and jump-rock. Curran, his band, and producer Billy Horton do things the old-fashioned way—no overdubs. The “best take” is the take you get—thus the claim in the notes, “Recorded live.” While there’s no audience in attendance, there’s still that electric edge that comes from doing things right now.

Right off, the classic title cut establishes Curran’s good-time intentions: “Take heed all you cats that don’t believe/I got whoopee dust all up my sleeve,” Curran bellows in a voice somewhere between Fats Domino and Howling Wolf. The off-beat thud of Damien Lianes’ snare and Eric Mathew Przygocki’s bass gets one out of one’s chair and writhing, baby!

Notables: Special guest Jimmy Vaughan’s fine blues guitar licks on "Lonesome Whistle Blues," a great r&b reading of Hank Williams’ "Cold Cold Heart," which switches in the chorus to a Motown-style syncopation (think "Mr. Postman"), and a handful of Curran’s own compositions—"Drivin’ Me Crazy," featuring a great harp solo from Gary Primich, the stroll-inducing "Please Don’t Leave Me," the fast shuffle of "Can’t Stop Lovin’ You," the abandoned-sounding echo enveloping "Beautiful Girl," and the set-closing boogie-woogie rush of instrumental "Stompin’ at the Fort."