Sparrow & Joanie Pallatto: Canned Beer (2003)
“Recess” is light, and “Canned Beer” takes us to the beach. “Shopping” expresses the beat and ambiance of our pop culture with a “hook” in melody and a common thread in the lyrics. “Drum” soliloquizes on the mechanical aspects found in much of today’s hip-hop and smooth jazz culture. Saxophonist Von Freeman guests with a mechanical parody on a brief, contemporary item, while his younger brother, George, provides the expressive guitar for a longer, more robust companion piece.
Eldee Young and Redd Holt sit in for the album’s only swinging affair, “Walk on the West Side,” which boasts a true blues feeling along with ironic lyrics. As the song opens, you’d expect a traditional jaunt through a place where the blues walk is natural. It’s got that feeling. Then the lyrics belie the album’s demeanor with Young’s confession, “Got a million things I’d rather do than walk on the west side after dark.” We’ve all been there. Every city has such a place. The addition of accordion, complete with etude-like cadenza, drives home the message that these folks are having fun expressing things in their own sweet way.
World music finds its link through “Cop a Fifth (Ronrico),” “Thumbs” and “Part of Me is From Africa.” By including the sounds of a dog barking and a wild animal growling, Sparrow ensures that we get the point. And we thought Frank Zappa was funny. Sparrow and Joanie Pallatto have created a masterpiece that drives home a message: never take yourself too seriously.
Track Listing: Recess; Canned Beer; Not My Kind of Love; Shopping; Drum; Eat White Castle; A Pure Love; Cop a Fifth (Ronrico); Walk on the West Side; Judy Called; Thumbs; Part Of Me Is from Africa; Jody; And So Bartender.
Personnel: Sparrow- acoustic piano, vocals, keyboards, kalimba, sampling; Joanie Pallatto- vocals, keyboards, sampling; Von Freeman- tenor saxophone; George Freeman- guitar; John E. Magnan- bass; Eldee Young- vocal, bass; John Devlin- bass, guitar, accordion; Michael Raynor, Redd Holt- drums; Alejo Poveda- congas; Keithen Carter, Neal Kristie- vocals.
Record Label: Southport Records