NRBQ “God Bless Us All”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#682 in the Series) is NRBQ, God Bless Us All

I have always felt that God Bless Us All was NRBQ at their absolute peak. In fact, if someone wanted to know an album to start their Q catalog, this was the one I’d always suggest. This was the one that I’d always play at parties and would always get the the Q fans  boppin’.  If you weren’t a Q fan when I put this one on, well you would be soon. “Who’s this?” was a question that was asked more than once when I’d put needle to vinyl.

Not only did it catch the band at their peak, but it also was a perfect showcase to what it sounded like, and to what it felt like to be at an NRBQ concert.  I was actually a little late to the party on these guys. Sure, I knew “Me and The Boys” (which is included here) but I was more familiar with it from the Dave Edmunds version or maybe even the Bonnie Raitt version than I was from their original take.  So how did I get my first NRBQ fix? That would be when I saw them open for one of my heroes, Mr. John Prine.  I’m guessing that would have been about 1983 or 1984. Maybe a little later but it was around then.  I clearly remember that show at the Bismarck Theater in Chicago like it was yesterday.

I think the two things that really jump out at you at an NRBQ show are its variety and its spontaneity and both are represented here.  The boys would never put together a set list before a show began. It was also quite rare for them to discuss on stage what to play next.  I’d heard many times that every song that they ever recorded was still considered “active and available for play” during every live show. In most cases, keyboardist and vocalist Terry Adams would just jump into whatever he would feel would be the best song to play. I once read a quote from guitarist and vocalist Al Anderson that was something like “Wow, we haven’t played this in five years”. But each song was always ready, and each song was as tight as if they had rehearsed it the day before.

Even though they didn’t use a set list as we mentioned, many of these songs that are here would be in their shows. Maybe half of the show would change each night back in this era.  Songs like “Me and the Boys” was heard on many nights, so were “Here Comes Terry,” Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm,” “12 Bar Blues” and maybe even “Crazy Like a Fox.”

NRBQ was also known for many line-up changes. This version of “Big” Al Anderson, Terry Adams, Joey Spampinato and the late Tommy Ardolino was the longest running version. It was also the most well-known. Big Al would leave in a few years and was replaced by Joey’s brother John.  That version would last for many years as well. But that ended too and now Joey and Johnny have their own band called The Spampinato Brothers. Terry Adams is keeping the NRBQ name active as he continues to tour and record albeit with three new band members.

In closing, I have to say that I used to play this album on more than a regular basis. It was a favorite of my dear friend Jim “Hoss” Gartland.  We would always crank it out if we were crusin’ around or jammin’ “In the Studio” as he would call my apartment.  He called it that because we would have some very late nights making some nifty mix tapes. He even had NRBQ license plates on his Bronco. Jim left us way too young exactly 16 years ago today. That’s why I’m posting this album on this day.  It’s so “Jim” you could say.  I also must say that I’ve not been able to play this album again ever since he passed. I’ve wanted to many times but I just never could. Maybe this will help. He was as good of a friend any man could have and I miss him dearly to this day.  This is for him.

— Larry Carta

Track Listing

  1. Crazy Like a Fox (Anderson) 3:55
  2. Here Comes Terry (Adams) 3:50
  3. Every Boy, Every Girl (Spampinato) 2:33
  4. In the Mood (Garland, Razaf) 3:28
  5. Sitting in the Park (Stewart) 3:25
  6. She Got the House (Adams, Wailer) 5:52
  7. Down at the Zoo (Adams, Gregory) 3:14
  8. Me and the Boys (Adams) 3:26
  9. Mouthwaterin’ (Adams) 3:30
  10. 12 Bar Blues (Butwell) 4:34
  11. God Bless Us All (Burrello, Murray) 2:06
  12. Get Rhythm (Cash) 3:59
  13. Shake, Rattle & Roll (Calhoun) 5:49
  14. I Gotta Go, Babe (Adams, Jenkins) 2:53

Personnel

NRBQ

  • Terry Adams – Keyboards, Vocals
  • Al Anderson – Guitar, Vocals
  • Tom Ardolino – Drums
  • Joey Spampinato – Bass, Vocals

The Whole Wheat Horns

  • Donn Adams -Trombone
  • Jim Hochanadel – Sax (Baritone +Tenor)

Links

These aren’t the versions from the album. But it’s the best I could do. 

Posted by Larry Carta


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