By Rhetta Akamatsu
I thought that Appleton and Ricci’s Dirty Memory was my favorite album of the year, but then along came this one and it’s even better! The only other musician involved in this powerful acoustic album is bassist Derek Nievergelt, a brave man indeed, who does a fine job keeping up. Nievergelt and Appleton also produced the album,
Beautiful Slop is a marvelous mixture indeed. JJ Appleton’s voice and the way he plays his 1932 National Resonator guitar are a perfect match for Ricci’s sometimes sweet, sometimes fiery harmonica. And when Ricci does take a vocal, as on “Hurt Myself,” the rawness and near loss of control is even more dramatic. That is a song that will tear at your heart if you have one.
“Don’t Take Advantage Of Me” is the first song, and you are in the middle of the mix immediately, engulfed in the guitar, Appleton’s strong,, clear voice and that amazing harmonica.
After “Hurt Myself” gives us its powerful taste of the demons Ricci has faced, “I Got the Feeling” gives us pure joy as Appleton sings about true love and the guitar, bass and harmonica chug along happily. “An angel must have dropped you/from Heaven’s featherbed” – what a perfect line!
“Distraction.” is a cute interlude with an appropriately distracting jerky rhythm.”Geaux Nuts Kidz” takes us on a completely amazing trip to New Orleans, and then “Don’t Badger The Witness” gives us an entertaining bit of courtroom drama which provides a chance for Ricci to really soar on harp. “Standing in the Safety Zone” lets Appleton, Ricci, and bassist Derek Nievergelt al shine in a feel-good spiritual.
“Brighter Days” is a song about love and hope while “For The Very Last Time” is a rocker about standing up for yourself which shows off Ricci’s speedy, urgent playing style.
The album closes with a clever bit of storytelling with “Stay.”
It is impossible to describe how well Appleton and Ricci fit together musically. Some combinations are just meant to happen, like Jagger and Richards or Page and Plant. This is one of those. “Beautiful Slop” indeed. Turn it on, turn the volume up, and get ready to be blown away!
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