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If The River Was Whiskey

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RUF
  • ASIN: B00BJB2AKM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,379 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

You think you know the Spin Doctors? Think again. When the legendary New York quartet release 'If The River Was Whiskey' on April 29th through Ruf Records, casual fans will discover the secret past the hardcore have never forgotten. To the wider world, the Doctors might be the multi-million-selling icons behind hits like 'Two Princes' and 'Little Miss Can't Be Wrong', not to mention the classic' Pocket Full Of Kryptonite'. But in 2013, Chris Barron (vocals), Aaron Comess (drums), Eric Schenkman (guitar) and Mark White (bass) are reconnecting with the flat-broke twenty-somethings who scraped for dollars at the sharp end of the Big Apple blues circuit. The Spin Doctors have come full-circle.

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Format: Audio CD
If you're looking for a similar album to "Pocket Full Of Kryptonite", you'd best not buy this album, because you will be sorely disappointed. This is a nostalgia trip, but not for the reasons old fans who joined them during the era of "Two Princes" may want. I caught them on their UK tour earlier this year and lead singer Chris Barron told the story behind this new album. "If The River Was Whiskey" harks back to the days prior to the Spin Doctors making it in the big time, when they were slaving away at blues clubs in New York. One particular joint required them to stick to a prescribed set list of certain blues artists' work and, feeling stifled after plugging away at the greats of blues' well-known and obscure tracks, they started to write their own hard blues tracks and sneak them into the set list. Over time, these original Spin Doctors songs became favourites with the crowd and soon they were doing entire sets of their own material. It was at this point they came clean with their appreciative audience, once they had won themselves some ardent fans. This album is full of these tracks from the early days.

Of course, I'm not suggesting for a moment that you shouldn't buy this album, quite the opposite, in fact. I just want to let people know that you're not exactly going to get "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" or "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" if you exchange your hard-earned cash for it. This album is full of hard blues tracks, gritty solos and more than a little hint of funk. Despite the high quality of musicianship, it's not a piece of work designed for introspective chin-stroking blues snobs, either. This is crammed with ballsy, sweaty, energetic, authentic rockers, with more infectious riffs than you could shake a stick of kryptonite at.
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When Spin Doctors first had a few hits in Britain I used to listen,liked the songs,but never bought them. One thing in the back of my mind was that I could not place who they (sort of) reminded me of. Now, when I listened to 'If the river was whiskey' something clicked in my head and I suddenly realised that Chris Barrons vocal style and range was reminiscent of Steve Millers.That is no bad thing'cos it is a nice,easy,relaxed, voice with which to express both blues and rocky stuff. The result is that I bought this album and Spin Doctors greatest hits. I then mixed the two sets of album tracks (getting rid of some of the duff tracks off the hits album) and I've now got a a great mix on computer file and an mp3 for the car. The bluesy stuff goes perfectly with the commercial stuff from the past,one overlapping the other,track by track. I never realised how good the musicianship was in the past too. So this album has awakened an interest in Spin Doctors that was missing previously.

Eamonn
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Format: Audio CD
The Spin Doctors are back! Having debuted songs (and pre-sold this album) on their UK tour in Feb 2012, I've been listening to it for a couple of months now. The Spin Doctors, in their different stages and stylistic approaches have always been favourites of mine and I couldn't be happier that they have released some new material. But 'Til The River Was Whiskey' is a bit of a bittersweet release in my opinion.

Having formed as a blues-jam band playing lengthy sets, night after night in New York clubs, the Spin Doctors - in an effort to avoid being simply a blues cover band - wrote their own blues material in order to pepper their sets with their new compositions, passing them off as authentic blues standards in order the satiate the bar owners. So far from being a side step, this latest project truly brings them back to their roots. Their previous albums have always been infused in the blues, sometimes subtly, sometimes clearly and unashamedly, so it comes across as authentic and not as a vanity project or 'experiment'.

So what works about it? Well for a band back to the top of their game the playing is first rate. Schenkman's guitar crackles and he plays with bite; the group's more rocking tendencies are reined in to make way for a real authentic garage blues sound. On drums Comess is solid as always and brings variety and imagination to his rhythms - he and White on bass are locked in so tightly it's a joy, although I do feel a little sorry for White who (while he looked like he was loving it live) is denied the chance to really let rip - one of the world's best funk bassists seems a little confined within the range of songs here. It's a pretty humble move on his part and there is still both subtlety and energy in his playing, as the songs allow.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't think I have ever listened to the Spin Doctors before, so I am blissfully unaware of what they have done in the past. This is a very good blues album! You can smell the whiskey as you work your way through the 10 tracks all of which are of high quality. Ones that particularly need a mention are the title track 'If the river was whiskey' which is a typical southern USA blues number the sort of thing that Lynyrd Skynyrd used to do so well in the past. 'Sweetest Portion' is a much more melodic lighter track, 'The Drop' is what I would term as heavy blues and also requiring high praise is 'Scotch and Water Blues'. You can smell the whiskey, sweat and the bar in this album; I am going to have a look at what else this band has done.
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