Mckeesport Daily News Review

Tony Janflone Jr. serves up tasty tunes with live recording

Blues’ Fills Menu On Café Recording

By David Sallinger
Daily News Entertainment Editor

Tony Janflone Jr. shed no crocodile tears when he found himself recording in a night spot rather than in a studio at night. He knew his band of blues would sound fine when captured on the fly, aided by the ambiance attached to café society.

That’s the bottom line in “Live at the Blues Café”; If you feel confident of your abilities, and are supported by a strong bunch of sidemen—step away from the safety of all that multi-tracking equipment and prove you can do it when the spotlight finds you.

YNOT? YNOT indeed.

So Janflone did (YNOT’s the record company), mixing originals with old favorites, familiar efforts with the less-so.

“Crocodile Tears” is one from Janflone’s pen, or at least his strings, a swinging blues tune (that sounds like an oxymoron) boosted by the sound of brass. Another original, “Something’s Got to Give” (no apparent relation to the old McGuire Sisters hit of similar name), in which earnest vocals meld nicely with the guitar’s output, follows the traditional method of using the title as a hook.

“Gone With the Wind” likewise shares a title with another established tune, but there’s nothing southern-fried about this one. It’s jazzy and urban in it’s sensibilities and confrontation.

Janflone said “Wish You Didn’t Have to Go” was inspired by his granparents, and they should be happy they were that inspiring, even though the lengthy track does carry a tinge of sadness and mystery.

“Deliver the Goods” finds Janflone vocally on top of his own game, it’s title a metaphor with a wink.

The band leader gets rootsier with Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do”, and when he sings about being up and down, he gets down. “The Wind Cries Mary” takes him down to Hendrix-ville, where he explores a different strata of the song, an approach aided by keyboard and his own non-Jimi vocal line.

For baby-boomers, it’s tough to conceive of anything from our life time already being a standard, but “Mustang Sally” is, as is “Hey Joe”, wherein the doomed nature of the song’s plot colors Janflone’s straightforward storytelling.

One of the favorite cuts is “I’ve Got News for You”, appealing in it’s out-front stance-taking. Likewise favored is the album-ending “Food Court Blues”, which is rather happy, as if the players found a table that wasn’t sticky. It’s the kind of ensemble piece you wouldn’t mind hearing because it dishes up all the musical food groups, picking up steam as it proceeds to the checkout.

Joining the guitarist in concert were Tom Salyers on keyboards; George Elliott on bass; Curtis Swift on sax; Sonny Pugar, John Sferra and Rick Dickerson on drums.