Record Of The Week # 94

Ted Russell Kamp – Down in the Den

Ted Russell Kamp’s latest release is a joy. This was recorded mainly in his ‘Den’ in LA. The album set off to have a soul feel; in general it’s mission accomplished if you grant him a licence for adding a heavenly slug of rock. To lift the vernacular of the accompanying PR, his day job is “holding down the bottom end for bands as diverse as Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter, Whitey Morgan, and others”. However, it’s clear he’s a lot more talented than a bass player for hire; this is his 12th solo release. Throughout the songs are interesting, varied and provide a platform for his virtuosity: bass, acoustic guitar, dobro, keys, trombone, trumpet and banjo.

The arrangements and voice have a soulful sway with a rhythm that’ll move your feet. He’s invited friends to share duets including Shooter Jennings on the opener “Home Sweet Hollywood” and Kirsten Profitt on “Take My Song With You”. John Schreffler’s electric guitar lights up many of the tracks. “Word For Word” and “Saint Severin” are memorable for some fluid solos. “Waste A Little Time” heads further south than Tennessee with a Shinyribs’ vibe. A honky tonk piano and horns ignite this nicely; even the words display a certain NOLA insouciance. “Hobo Nickel” stays in Louisiana with some delightful Dixieland trumpet and trombone from Dave Richards. 

The full band tracks are top class but when stripped down his ear for a tune and arrangement are outstanding – “Rainy Day Valentine” is a voice over bass melody that Lowell George would have been glad to call his own. “Only Son” is a gentle ballad and starts with Kamp accompanied by his acoustic guitar before the band joins in and the melody is driven by Dan Wistrom’s pedal steel.

This is a very consistent 14-track release engaging throughout and exuding craft and melody. The only negative is that he’s having far too much fun: maybe he’s the antidote to 2020?

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