Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reconsidering NRBQ

January 13, 2009—I never paid a lot of attention to NRBQ. They were to me one of those bands who were around, but I never thought to listen very closely. Then I reviewed a recording by NRBQ’s Terry Adams and Marshall Allen, the irrepressible Sun Ra alumnus and now director. It was full of adventure and whacky good humor. My thinking altered, I checked out NRBQ’s Greatest Hit compilation, and that was OK but not especially overwhelming to me. Then I grabbed today’s recording, NRBQ’s Message to the Mess Age (Aardvark). This one had the irreverence and tang that attracted me to the later duet album. On this recording NRBQ has the dada humor of some of Steely Dan, a little of the wryness of the Police, but it is only as a reminiscence, not a copycatting. It’s musical music and it has a variety of moods and grooves. “Girl Scout Cookies” has a sublimely ridiculous lyric that might tickle you. It’s something to hear if you have not.

What’s coming up? A few more Tzadiks, jazz from Cadence and other sources, more rock known and unknown and the beginning of a series on creative commons jamband downloads for those who are curious but limited in funds.


  1. I would check out "Scraps" or "Tiddlywinks" for more NRBQ -- the former, especially, is their sophomore effort, and has a lot of post-60s zaniness mixed in with some seriously creative RnB. "Message" is one of my favorites of their later work, though I think "Wild Weekend" wins out song for song (definitely give "Little Floater" a listen, it's not only one of their greatest tunes but probably the catchiest that pop can get with subversive chord structures). Still, I love "Designated Driver" (an Adams composition) and "A Little Bit of Bad" (an Al number).

  2. Thanks for that Jon. I will try to explore further as you suggest and I pass your info on to the readers. Your comment is much appreciated.