‘In Any Town’ the second CD by the Bay Area band The Lucky Losers, featuring vocalist Cathy Lemons and vocalist/harmonica player Phil Berkowitz, is a throwback to the hybrid of soul, blues, rock, gospel, and country that emerged in the late 1960’s/ early 1970’s. Delaney & Bonnie laid down some scorching blues rock thanks to friends like Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, and Duane Allman. The Lucky Losers follow suit with ‘Give me a Sign’ featuring Lemons’ impassioned vocal and an electrifying interplay between Berkowitz’s harp and guest Jeff Jensen. ‘In Any Town’ continues to mine that era’s back to the roots rock with a cover of Rick Danko /Bobby Charles tune ‘Small Town Talk, and Berkowitz powerful harmonica work brings to mind the laid back, countrified version of Paul Butterfield’s ‘Better Days.’ They broaden their range with three numbers: the bouncy cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s ‘Jackson,’’ the deep funk of Meters-inspired ‘Still Enough Time to Cry’ and the dramatic, heavy blues rock of ‘Devil’s Dream.’ Finally, two tracks that stand out and make ‘In Any Town’ such a compelling listen are the stripped down swampy funk of ‘It Ain’t Enough’ and the title track, a haunting soulful ballad. Roots music listeners who take a chance on the Lucky losers will surely hit the jackpot.
A lot of singers have had the mantle put on them but Cathy Lemons really sounds like she should/could be Bonnie Raitt’s long lost duet partner she never sang with. Not unleashing all their goods on their impressive debut, the Losers are back with a dark end of the street sounding set that fuses contemporary blues and soul into the tastiest mix you could hope to find. With incredible blue eyed soul dripping off all the edges, all topped off with a closing track that takes “Small Town Talk” to new heights while keeping the Charles/Danko core undisturbed, this is a must for the boomer that would still like to buy records that mean something and are full of feeling. Hot stuff.
The Lucky Losers welcome wayward souls with In Any Town, the recent release from the California-based duo. The Blues has been the backdrop for the vocals of Cathy Lemons and harmonica work of Phil Berkowitz, and the pair stay close to the sound that brought them to the party In Any Town. Guiding the natural blue of The Lucky Losers, the tracks steer towards Soul with “Don’t Let ‘Em See You Cry”, Funk in “Still Time Enough to Cry”, hard driving rock’n’roll barreling along with “I Can’t Change Ya”, wiry Americana shouting out “So High”, and the swamp riffs crawling up into “Give Me a Sign”.The tracks that cross In Any Town are balanced between tunes from the pen of the pair that make up The Lucky Losers. On her cuts, Cathy Lemons slows the groove to simmer on “It Ain’t Enough” and wanders through the title track as she nods to the ghosts walking beside her with each step. Phil Berkowitz co-writes with Danny Caron over the electric bristle of “Devil’s Dream” as he wanders out on a hot summer night. The Lucky Losers work magic on In Any Town as they make cover tunes their own, singing of “Small Town Talk” on a Bobby Charles hit, as they take sides heading into “Jackson” on a Johnny and June tune.
“So High” opens things up. It’s a love songpraising the spirit of a love that lasts forever. More rock than blues, the song is up tempo and uplifting. “It Ain’t Enough” follows; it evokes a gospel-ly sort of sultry sound. “Don’t Let ‘Em See Ya Cry” takes us deep into the blues...This one is greasy and cool as Lemons takes the lead and the band adds horns for some cool depth. “Still Enough Time to Cry” has Phil up front in a bouncy and fun song with more good piano, guitar and harp solos. Andersen returns to lead guitar in the ballad title track. His subdued solo fits the tone of the song well. Lemons wails about her being tired of being told what to do by people offering useless help. The song has a country tinge and shows Lemons at her best. Berkowitz offers up “Devil’s Dream” next, a psychedelic and demonic take on the blues. Interesting stuff! If you want something original with a blue tinge and a country and rock feel and a very slick production then by all means try this one out! The artists perform with feeling and give it their all.
It was a little over a year ago that this writer praised the debut release by The Lucky Losers, “A Winning Hand.” Listening to the duo again, I remained especially impressed by Lemons natural and soulful delivery and Berkowitz’s own unforced vocals complement her so well. This is evident on the opening Berkowitz-Caron original “So High,” a strong performance that might evoke Delaney & Bonnie.There is an unexpected, and very playful cover of the June and Johnny Cash duet, “Jackson,” that shows the rapport between the two. Lemons’ original “Don’t Let ’Em See Ya Cry,” is a powerful slow blues set against a backing that recalls some of the Johnnie Taylor blues for Stax in the late 60s and early 70s. A cover of Bobby Charles’ “Small Town Talk,” closes another fine recording by Lemons and Berkowitz. The quality and variety of material and the crisp, uncluttered and unhurried backing contribute to another superior recording from The Lucky Losers.
Not since the pairing of Johnny Cash and June Carter has the music world seen a duet that is this well suited for one another. San Francisco based Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz do a blend of blues, country, R&B and soul that is smooth as silk while, on the other hand, as gravelly as a back country road, when that is what is called for. ‘In Any Town’ is a timeless masterpiece, reminiscent of the day when duets worked their magic, voices blending in perfect harmony. Deeply rooted in blues and R&B, this recording brings back glimpses of the sophistication heard in ages past.
The Lucky Losers return for their sophomore release, ‘In Any Town,’ a confident set of blues and R&B tunes that look to past eras…..mostly the 60’s, but also put a modern spin on familiar blues-related subjects….The pair alternate on vocals for several of the tunes. Lemons really stands out on ‘It Ain’t Enough,’ and Berkowitz rocks the house on ‘Devil’s Dream’…. He also provides some stellar harmonica throughout. The duo’s easy charm and rapport really bring their duets to life….The pair’s vocal asides are pretty entertaining, too, as on the energetic ‘I Can’t Change Ya,’ a Lemons vocal with some more engaging repartee. The closer is Bobby Charles’ ‘Small Town Talk,’ which is one of my favorite tunes. Lemons and Berkowitz knock this one out of the park….‘In Any Town’ is a entertaining and enjoyable listen, in part due to the great songs and performances, but also due to the engaging personalities of Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz. It’s obvious that these two have a ball working together, and that this was a labor of love for both. It shows in every note played or sung.
One thing is certain, the songs are all done tastefully and perfectly interpreted. Our duo lovers, Cathy Lemons plays off her counter mate with a magnificent voice— strong and fluid, sometimes gritty, sometimes coaxing, but still expressive as hell, while Phil Berkowitz accompanies with simplicity and conviction, whether it be with singing or harp…Basically a cool album, pleasant, swinging in the strong bluesy style, perfectly produced and performed by a duo that are becoming more and more interesting.
Having released, last year, ‘A Winning Hand’ this up and coming vocal duo, Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, have yet again released a new album, ‘In Any Town.’ The Lucky Losers are obviously much more than just two talented singer-songwriters. This California native duo band fully revives a sixties and R&B sound with blues, of course, remaining as the base. There is so much variation on ‘In Any Town,’ and that’s why we love these two artists so much. In the body of this work, we found ‘Jackson,’ and therefore it is only natural that we would compare Lemons & Berkowitz to Carter and Cash. There is excellent soul blues on this album. ‘Blind Man in the Dark’ is a thumbs up. ‘I Can’t Change Ya’ is another notable song, a country-blues that makes this album so varied. The title track, ‘In Any Town,’ written by Cathy Lemons, is a slow blues that makes you want to go looking for a dance partner. Her warm and crystal clear voice poignantly tells the story.This beautifully balanced album makes it clear that this duo know the ropes. The ending song “Small Town Talk” is a classic example of how to sing a duet.
In Any Town’ is as masterful as it is smooth, with just the right amount of grit … well produced, impeccable even- a straightforward disc with the blues and soul as primary foundations that doesn’t hide behind effects and studio trickery. The emotional content ranges from the highest highs to the lowest lows, described in the bio as ‘beautiful and twisted stories’… kinda makes you want to listen, doesn’t it?
As one listens to this album, you can’t help but enjoy the duets between Cathy and Phil, something that has become a lost art on the contemporary scene for a long time. The rough-hewn vocal delivery of Cathy Lemons paired with the suave hipness of Phil Berkowitz’s make these two perfect for each other, and for us fans, too. “In Any Town” is a fine sophomore effort, with strong vocals, material, and musicianship that guarantees something for everyone!
With the album ‘In Any Town’, The Lucky Losers published an excellent successor to last year’s ‘A Winning Hand’. On this album, Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz are in excellent shape. The clever thing about the music of The Lucky Losers is that both raise each other to great musical level. The crystal-clear voice of Cathy Lemons colors perfectly with the crooner-like voice and style of Phil Berkowitz. On the album, you hear blues, R&B and soul drenched in 60’s sauce. This combination makes the music on the album particularly pleasant, but above all, very varied. The eleven songs on the album well know how to hold the attention of the listener.After listening to ’In Any Town’, I am even more convinced that we will hear a lot more beautiful things from The Lucky Losers.
Wow, I thought the Lucky Losers’ previous album, ‘A Winning Hand,’ was really good, but their latest release ‘In Any Town,’ is truly amazing stuff…. The Lucky Losers have definitely figured out how to write and present the blues, and ‘In Any Town’ is proof of this. This disc is a must-buy.
This is the best boy-girl fronted blues band since the criminally under-appreciated Janiva Magness and Jeff Turmes classic, ‘It Takes One To Know One’ from 1999. Most of the tunes are originals – they do a bang-up version of ‘Jackson’ – and the band is tighter than your boss.
A man shouts ‘We’re rollin’ amid the studio chatter as The Lucky Losers launch ‘In Any Town’ with ‘So High.’ And indeed they are. both rollin’, and so high on life it seems. The San Francisco-based band, led by partners Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz, for the most part toss aside the bottom of the blues in favor of a free and easy flow on this, their second album. Regardless of the variety of modes they blend, the outcomes always end up gleaming like charms. Each song’s either happy to begin with, or if not, certainly elicits a knowing and satisfied smile…. Although a superb full band and an assortment of top-flight guests drive every song, that one’s perfect for an album that at the end of the day revels in two people connecting in every way. Lemons and Berkowitz both defy and define their moniker with this delightful recording.
Each having a long career in their backpacks Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz decided a year ago to go and work together. This first resulted in the album “A Winning Hand”, which was both well received by press and public. Like their first album, the duo brings a combination of blues and soul. The duo and their companions bring along enough skill to make it a great CD. But skill alone is not enough. Love for music and fun brings the icing on the cake. My favorite songs are the soul blues “Blind Man In The Dark” and the beautiful duet “Small Town Talk.”
The strength of Cathy and Phil’s vote comes at once reflected in contemporary rhythm and blues breathing ‘So High’, and Cathy with ‘It Ain’t Enough “ presents a sample card celestial soul. After listening to ‘In Any Town “we can only conclude that The Lucky Losers is a band to keep an eye on.
On their second disc they bring a darker side to life in America. There are touching and moving songs sung as interpretative laments. In all, their vocal duets stand out as very endearing to the heart…. In almost each of these songs the playing is both electric and acoustic with lots of harmonica. Tasty vocal duets, great guitar work, keyboards and harmonica. They touch on all different styles of blues. Wonderful music!
This is a very prominent original work in its own right….highly spiritualized and interesting album.
They can take on soul, country blues and all points inbetween, and end up with a winning hand. A really enjoyable album.