When an exception comes along, it’s all that more remarkable. They capture the fun and excitement of a bluesy band in a dimly lit bar. And at its core, that’s what modern blues is all about. That Berkowitz is a skilled blues harpist only adds to the enjoyment.
Cathy Lemons’ strong and crystal clear voice and Phil Berkowitz’ rich and mellow pipes blend together like a match made in heaven….I can’t say enough good things about this CD. Everything fits exactly into place like it was meant to be. Musicianship and production values are of the highest quality. You just can’t miss with this one, your record collection deserves it.
“Joining their voices for the first time on disc, San Franciscans Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz have come up with a winning formula in a band they call “The Lucky Losers.” Their harmonies are particularly fine … (Lemons’) swinging “Suicide by Love” … features her singing along in the unique conversational manner that helps set her apart from other vocalists performing today….Berkowitz blows outstanding harmonica solos throughout.”
A good blues duet CD is a rarity these days. When they wrap their considerable pipes around Sam & Dave’s “I Take What I Want,” for instance, it’s as if Delaney & Bonnie took over Stax Records. Whether they’re covering Allen Toussaint (“What Is Success”) or Bob Dylan (“What Was It You Wanted”), their voices slip-slide over, under, sideways and through each other…. These two shed their solo skins to fit together tight.
Their appeal is so packed with honest emotion that you can practically see them. When Lemons opens up and lets it rip, every word is immediate and engaging. Berkowitz responds with vitality: no-frills singing and supple, assertive harmonica.
An old school soul explosion!
Their debut recording, ‘A Winning Hand’ … is a keeper….Both are excellent singers and songwriters and they sound great together, and Friday Blues Fix is hopeful that this partnership will continue for years to come.
Vocally, The Lucky Losers bring distinct textures to center the songs. Cathy Lemons crawls up on with a slinky seduction that offers street grit with a sly wink while Phil Berkowitz is the gentleman crooner easing away troubles with a cool reserve to his lounge stylings.
They’ve both got strong blues pedigrees going back many moons, but have teamed up to resurrect the lost art of the blues duet. And they’re really good at it. With Kid Anderson on guitar, a couple of excellent horn enhanced tunes and an abundance of sixties vibes about them, “A Winning Hand” is exactly that.
Both Lemons and Berkowitz are seasoned veterans, exceptional performers and well-versed in blues from every region imaginable. The covers are all done immaculately with the greatest care to do justice to the originals. Then there are the originals… The originals have all the sound and feel of material written by the elder masters of the genre. There’s not a tune on this disc that did not ‘trip my trigger.”“This duo’s voices blend beautifully and the band backing them up is great, any way you look at it.”“The world is full of those who put on their black hat and sunglasses, go to the Delta and play the part of the bluesman but the real deal is a different breed altogether, and this band is the real deal.
No matter what may be your taste in blues, Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, as The Lucky Losers, have laid down “A Winning Hand” that make us all the lucky winners!
Lemons and harmonica ace Phil Berkowitz have the right interplay to make a great music live and on record…. Well done by real pros hard at work—making it look easy.