It must be a Southern thing. Very few of my Northern friends understand the joy of an RC Cola and a Moonpie as a snack. Those that do invariably disclose that they either spent a great deal of time in the South or had a Southern relative that brought the delicacy with them when they relocated.
So who could resist a band with a name like RC And The Moonpie Band? You know they’ve got southern blood running through their veins. This quintet, who indeed have roots that run through Virginia and North Carolina is a hard driving bar band that sent me a copy of their 2015 independently released album, Individually Wrapped.
Having a fondness for both bar bands and Virginia-based artists, I quickly devoured the album and found it to be a fun effort that shows a lot of promise. They deliver a mix of original tunes mixed with a few covers from the likes of Prince, Tommy Castro, and Willie Dixon.
Why don’t we unwrap a fresh box of Moonpies and settle back for a fun time? Does RC make a diet soda? If so, I’ll take two…
The album starts off with a solid blues riff on F In Funk. I would have thought that it would have been a different style, but it’s old-school with some good guitar and harp work. Lead singer Robert “RC” Christian has a good growl in his voice. They’ve definitely got my attention, let’s see what develops.
Next up is Country Girl, a swinging tune with some nice guitar. The song is kind of sweet and has to be a hit when done live. You can’t go wrong with the subject matter and the song is very catchy. These first two should be popping up on Time For The Blues.
Now, the following number, Squeeze Play Blues by Russel Pleasants, is a series of double entendres around America’s Pasttime, the great sport of baseball. I like the song very much, it’s playful with a good beat.
After some good clean, slightly dirty fun, the Moonpies follow up with a Pop Staples tune, Hope In A Hopeless World. If you need a little churching, this is the song that can give it to you. Robert Marlowe plays some wicked fills on guitar and the song is a very strong cover of a great song.
To my fellow radio producers who are looking for songs to play, keep in mind that Sweet Tooth, the next song, has a certain word in the lyrics that the FCC frowns upon. I may not be able to play it, but it’s certainly available for you to enjoy in your own home or car. It’s far less offensive than some of the music that folks share with me from their own cars… It’s got some funk in it, and the guitar work is pretty cool.
What follows is, I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog, an intense slower number that you can hear being done by any number of the greats. The singer standing alone behind a thin spotlight opening up to the crowd. This is one of my favorite numbers. Very soulful and satisfying, a loving tribute to the memory of Bobby “Blue” Bland.
After that gorgeous number, The Moonpies rock up Jimmy Vaughan’s Hey Yeah! And they tinker with the lyrics somewhat (they don’t recommend this one for airplay either) and play around with the whole number. Yeah, this one’s a killer on a live show, but I can’t play it on the air. Oh well. Still a good song.
Tommy Castro’s Lonesome And Then Some is next up. It features guest guitarist Jeff Cochran who tears it up righteously. Christian’s voice is very strong on this song, mournful and low – full of the loneliness you hear in the lyrics. It’s a solid offering and I hope this one gets some play.
Staying with covers, RC and The Moonpie Band take on Prince’s immortal song, Kiss. A number of artists have put their spin on Prince’s catalog, including several blues artists. They step away from the blues and funk and move into a different arena. The guitar work is flamenco styled and the vocals take an unusual approach. It might not be for everyone but I applaud the effort for taking on an iconic number.
With a title like Viagra, you can probably tell you’re not going to get an old Delta blues cover. The blues have to keep moving with the world and explore all of those issues that can get you down. (Sorry, had to get one joke in there…) The song deals with adult situations and uses adult language, so you’ll have to catch this one live or on the album because I won’t be able to play it.
There’s been a lot of fascination of late about women who like younger men. They’ve been called cougars. So, where does that leave the lady who is the star of the next song, Like A Puma? This one rocks hard and you know it’s got to be a big crowd pleaser when it’s done live.
Next is a Willie Dixon classic, Wang Dang Doodle. Maybe it’s to prove they can do straight blues, but they don’t have to prove anything to me. They’ve got a strong sound and I know they can work a crowd. They blend their blues with some rock and funk and forge their own style.
The last song on the album is Funky Carolina. I’ve heard the Tarheel State described many ways, but “funky” is a first for me. Still it’s a fun closer that’s got to be a decent audience rouser when they play in North Carolina. Maybe even South Carolina…
RC And The Moonpie Band is a real find. I enjoyed their album very much and despite a few lapses in language, they produced several songs that I can’t wait to share with you. I was remiss in not introducing the band earlier, so let me correct that now.
The band consists of: Robert Marlowe on guitar T Bone Betourney on drums; Robert “RC” Christian on lead vocals; Mike Logiovino on bass; and Russell Pleasants on backing vocals. Special guests on the album include: Debby Gore and Mike Provenzano on keyboards; Gary Pope on slide guitar; Dale MacPherson on harp and backing vocals; Lorette Christian on backing vocals; David Hood on sax; and Jeff Cochran on guitar and backing vocals.
I couldn’t find a dedicated website for the group, but they do have an electronic presence on Facebook and also on Reverb Nation where you can find Individually Wrapped. If you see they’re playing near you, check ‘em out, and tell them to hightail it to Richmond so I can check them out as well. Go to https://www.reverbnation.com/rcandthemoonpieband for more information.
|Just RC Cola and Moonpies|