I’ve already listened to this new album from Charlie and The Regrets, and on Friday (2/24), you get to listen, too! The songs you are going to hear on “Rivers in the Streets” are mostly ‘fun’ music. I just don’t know any other way to describe it.
Wait until you hear the melody of the lead track, “Proud Man”. I guarantee you are going to want to sing along with it (or clap your hands, or something). Whatever you do when you hear it, I am certain you will be smiling!
It doesn’t stop there. “The Gavel” is next. Another upbeat, jumpy, bouncy, kind of song – continuing with that same ‘fun’ kind of sound. Lyrics are usually important to me. but with these first two songs, I found myself pulled into the melody more than the story.The press that came with the preview album said, “Charlie is not your average singer, and his basic honesty drives each song, a sort of “stand and testify” kind of feel to them.” That pretty much says it all.
The third track is “Baytown”. Another fast one, the kind of song you might expect to hear in a honky-tonk somewhere in Texas. And, while Charlie continues that ‘fun’ theme with this one, it isn’t my favorite. Maybe because there’s a bit of that ‘talk-singing’ in there… I’m not sure what caused me to drop it to the bottom of my ‘favorite’ list. that said, you can’t get past the fact that it is still a ‘get up and dance’ kind of song.
I just said that one of the reasons “Baytown” wasn’t going to be a favorite was because of that ‘talk-singing’ thing artists sometimes do. Well, that’s not the reason. I just listened to “Last Time I Was Here”. Definitely one of those ‘talk-singing’ songs, and definitely fun, fast, and a great listening to, dancing to, moving to, singing along with song … and one that I actually got involved in the story.
Charlie and the band slow things down a little on that fifth song. It’s called “Houston Rain”. This is a whole different side of Charlie. ‘You can’t fight the weather, so what’s a lonely boy to do. There’s rivers in the streets, there’s puddles on the floor, There’s clouds on the horizon, and a letter by the door. Every fallen drop rolls like thunder through my brain, here I am a prisoner of the Houston rain”. It’s poetic. Unlike most albums that have a title track, I’m sure this album got its name from the line in this song that says “There’s rivers in the street”. I really enjoyed the vocals on t his one.
Singer-songwriter Charlie Harrison (center) with two of his Regrets, bassist Mark Riddell (left) and lap/pedal steel player Willy T. Golden (right). Not pictured are drummer Isaias Gil and lead guitarist John Shelton
Get ready for song six, “What Can I Do”! We’re jumping again. this might be the fastest one on this mostly up tempo album. While Charlie is using this tong to tell us that he ‘ain’t had not fun since I lost you’… he sounds to me like he’s having the time of his life. If Charlie and The Regrets got together one night and decided to make an album that would be more fun than any other album ever made … mission accomplished!
“New Night” started playing and I found my favorite song on the album. This is the first one where the lyrics pulled me in from the first word. I found myself wanting to listen to the story. And, it is the first one that showed Charlie has a sensitive side. A romantic side. He hasn’t lost his honky-tonk sound. that Texas sound we’ve all grown to love. You can still picture this song being played in front of a crowd of dancers on a hardwood floor with sawdust or peanut shells tossed all over the place … this one will pull out a bit of the romantic in all of us.
Up next is “time Moves Slow”. Maybe time moves slow, but like so much of Charlie’s music, this song does not. In addition to that great beat, you can’t help notice some awesome backup vocals and harmonies in this one that were not part of the other songs on the album.
the last one is called “Ain’t No good News”. It’s an all-too-familiar story. One that you hope will get better before the song ends. But it really doesn’t. “Earthquakes and fire and water…ain’t no good news in this town”. So, this fun album ends with a little bit of reality setting in. I was kind of glad this one was only 2 minutes 47 seconds, the shortest one on the album. But, I will admit – it the listener a lot to think about.
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