Chuck Weiss: Red Beans & Weiss

Album review
Chuck Weiss: Red Beans & Weiss

Chuck Weiss

Red Beans & Weiss

Label: Anti
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

This is Chuck E. Weiss’ fourth album since his surprise 1999 comeback, Extremely Cool, produced by Tom Waits. That album ended an 18-year hiatus by the enigmatic musician who inspired Rickie Lee Jones’ 1979 breakthrough single “Chuck E.’s in Love.” Weiss—discovered by blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins—was a fixture on the LA music scene and had befriended Jones and Waits a couple of years earlier. On the surface, you could mistake Red Beans & Weiss for little more than an eclectic collection of amped-up Sleepy LaBeef-style rockabilly, swamp rock, the clever Stones tribute “Exile on Main Street Blues,” and tasty Boho-jazzinflected ditties. But then Weiss hits you with incendiary “Bomb the Tracks,” on which he slyly condemns the decision by World War II allies not to bomb the railroads carrying Holocaust victims to Nazi death camps. Elsewhere, Chuck E.’s songs can be lyrically cryptic (the lengthy name-checking that goes on in “Boston Blackie” is a good example), serving up veiled social commentaries draped in tongue-in-cheek humor and hard-bitten blues grooves. But while their lyrical significance may be at times elusive, the grooves are so catchy that Red Beans & Weiss is a party in a jewel box.

More Info

  • primary artist, Chuck Weiss

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