The Felice Brothers “The Felice Brothers”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#610 in the Series) is The Felice Brothers – “The Felice Brothers”

The first time I saw a photo of The Felice Brothers (before I’d even heard them) they looked and dressed almost exactly like The Band famously did on the cover of their classic second album. Straight away I knew…..this lot are gonna be good!

And I was right.

It wasn’t until about 2 weeks later, when the album came out, that I finally got to hear them and they certainly didn’t let me down. Mining a seam of that “old, weird” American music which Bob Dylan and The Band explored on The Basement Tapes, they also threw in a distinct and admirable shot of free-spirited attitude.

This is one album that is full to the brim with fantastic tunes and which has  a brash “take it or leave it” devil- may- care bravado to it.

Take “Frankie’s Gun” for example, one of many highlights. It’s a mad, god-forsaken racket with what sounds like some half-crazed lunatic ranting over the top of it about keeping some dollars in his glove compartment “for to buy Lucille some clothes“. Quite brilliant. I don’t have much of a clue what the songs about but I don’t care, it’s too good to worry about minor details like that !

To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not really sure what any of it’s about, despite some truly evocative and choice lyrics.

The Felice Brothers sound as if they should have been the resident band on a Mississippi river paddle-steamer, circa 1878 or something. With Tom Waits and The Pogues jumping onstage for a jam. There’s a real mix on the go and they are all over the musical map, ballads , polkas, sea-shanties, jigs, crazed tangos and rancid stomp-a-longs abound, you want it, they got it !

This band (three real brothers and a childhood friend, the wonderfully named Christmas Clapton) have come up with their own little world populated by low-rent gangsters, pimps, hustlers, lady spies, gamblers and good-time gals. It’s quite marvelous and a hell of a lot of fun. But they never forget to include a great tune and some playful yet poignant lyrics.

It’s all very glorious, majestic and…well, a bit strange. I love it.

An unholy construction, a melodic cacophony . But it somehow all ends up making sense.

— Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland

Track listing

  1. “Little Ann” – 3:24
  2. “Greatest Show On Earth” – 5:31
  3. “Frankie’s Gun!” – 4:06
  4. “Goddamn You, Jim” – 3:25
  5. “Wonderful Life” – 4:04
  6. “Don’t Wake The Scarecrow” – 4:57
  7. “Take This Bread” – 4:51
  8. “Saint Stephen’s End” – 4:03
  9. “Love Me Tenderly” – 3:40
  10. “Ruby Mae” – 4:08
  11. “Murder By Mistletoe” – 4:41
  12. “Whiskey In My Whiskey” – 3:49
  13. “Helen Fry” – 5:44
  14. “Radio Song” – 3:51
  15. “Tip Your Way” – 5:23


The Felice Brothers

  • Ian Felice – guitar,vocals
  • James Felice –  accordian
  • Simone Felice – drums
  • Christmas Clapton – bass
Additional Musicians
  • Peter Buettner –  Horn
  • Richard “Dick Trumpet” DeCosta – Horn
  • Dean Jones – Horn


Give it a listen below

Posted by Larry Carta

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