eighth release by keyboardist/vocalist Joe McBride is much
like the game of poker itself. He and his band improvise
on each “hand” dealt to them like the seasoned
pros that they are. Backed by the Texas Rhythm Club
again, there’s a lot here to offer everyone at the
table. Every song has a card game theme to it and features
the band to its fullest.
“Big Stick” is the upbeat opening number that
has you tapping your toes from the very beginning. Wayne
DeLano’s sax is a constant companion to McBride’s
syncopated piano riffs. This is a great one to lead off with.
A remake of the Iron Butterfly classic (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida)
is aptly named “In a Garden of Eden” which showcases
Todd Parsnow’s guitar talent while leaving the roots
of this one intact. “Double Down” features McBride
on the upswing of some jazzy keyboard. It reminds me
a lot of the opener and has the same driving beat that will
make this one a favorite also.
The title track is much more laid back with occasional riffs
from the sax for an intertwined track that’s really
smooth. “Giving It All To You” is the first
of two vocal numbers on the disc. I like this one a
lot, and Joe’s vocals play well with his keyboard work.
some great scat work that reminds me of a couple of your
favorite artists. “No Limit” is another
one that primarily features McBride, and keeps the keyboards
tickled throughout. It’s heavy on syncopated rhythms
that keep the ivories upfront of the band. It is a
sharp contrast to the darker “I’m Here For You” that
features McBride’s vocals once again.
“All In” picks up the pace again and toys the keyboard over a vast
expanse of sound by the Rhythm Club. They keep this going while McBride
is at home dealin’ at the piano. “The River” has a
beautiful opening as Dave VanBlohn’s flugel plays well with the keyboard
while continuing to mix it up throughout the song. “Texas Hold ‘Em” closes
with “One Eyed Jack” which is the one card everyone’s been
looking for. There’s a lot of variety from the band, with great
backup from McBride again to close out the set.
I would advise you to pull yourself up to the table for
a little bit of Texas
Hold ‘Em. There’s
a lot here to enjoy, so look at your cards and make the right
- Harvey Cline