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The Renovators are good-time blues-rockers from downstate New York who specialize in comical tunes. Rhythm & Blueprints is a clever release that’s part blues, part classic rock.
The band’s name alludes to guitarist Bob Rasero’s non-musical occupation: When he’s not playing guitar, Rasero renovates buildings. The remaining Renovators are also known for outside ventures: Brothers Ted (drums) and Al Hemberger (bass, vocals) own and operate The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville, N.Y.. Bob Mayo is Peter Frampton’s longtime keyboardist, and he's also worked with sundry other classic rockers, including Aerosmith, Foreigner and Robert Plant.
The Renovators favor catchy boogie riffs and witty wordplay. Though the tunes "It’s Been Done" and "I Don’t Ski" are a bit too flip for me, the remaining songs on Rhythm & Blueprints hit the spot. Especially funny is "The Big One," a ditty that likens fishing to sex. I’ll leave it to you to decipher the real message from these lyrics: "I cast my plug at my favorite hole/And felt a tug at my fishin’ pole/My bobber’s bobbin’/My rod is wobblin’/Feels like the big one!"
Instrumentally, the Renovators incorporate a wider variety of styles than your average blues-rock outfit. "Rip Up The House" and "Excavator" are raucous rockers. "Everybody Loves the Blues" has an irresistible gospel groove. Led by Rasero's blazing guitar, the band stretches out on the surf-blues instrumental "Bandaido" and the atmospheric Hendrix-like "I Keep Dreaming." "Who's To Blame" has a slow Latin groove, while "You Snooze, You Lose" offers a swing beat. The band even tries its hand at a reggae-calypso hybrid on "Blue Reggae."
It takes creative musicians to write infectious tunes, and it takes creative minds to write genuinely funny lyrics. The Renovators accomplish both on Rhythm & Blueprints.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.