By Phillip Smith
Contino may just be one of the coolest bands sporting an accordion to hit the scene. Led by Pete Contino, son of legendary accordionist, Dick Contino who gave us ‘Lady of Spain’ and ‘Beer Barrel Polka’, this quintet intertwines Blues, Zydeco, Jazz and Americana music to produce an album full of spirited songs, rich juicy melodies, and solid vocals.
Even with accordion in hand, their cover of Lim Liban’s ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ is straight up blues. Al Ek wails away on the harp, providing near perfect accompaniment to Contino’s vocals on this one about letting go of the past. Speaking of Contino’s vocals, they really stand out on their cover of Willie Love’s ‘V-8 Ford’. Ek belts out some great harmonica again, and Billie Truitt has a nice little solo on keyboards to boot.
They break out the Cajun seasonings on ‘Zydeco Train’, and ‘Monkey’. ‘Zydeco Train’ makes me want to throw some crawfish in a big ol’ pot, boil ‘em up, and invite some friends over for a crawfish boil. While Contino and Truitt take on the heaviest load, you can’t deny that upright bass providing that big steady beat. What a cool sound. ‘Monkey’ a song about infatuation, has a more chilled vibe to it. It’s slower and relaxed and will have you rooting for the man and the object of his desire to make a connection.
Falling into neither the Blues nor Zydeco category, “Three Cool Cats” originally recorded by the Coasters and covered by the Beatles as well in 1962, is hip and beat. It has a way of creeping into the subconscious mind.
I’m very impressed with this album. It held my interest, sounded really good, and is good for replay-ability.