By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
The Numbers' recording is live, restored from the '70s, the record of a relentless jam band taking cues from Kidney's hip-man vocals. The band is tight, turns on a dime, and sounds like the J. Geils Band if J. and everyone else eighty-sixed Peter Wolf and went off into King Crimsonland circa Earthbound. (And that ain't progit was the Crimson album in which Boz and the drummer had Fripp doing rancid-buttered r&b.)
The Numbers, one gathers, were the very definition of unpopular but committed; liner notes allege that one sissy girl, a Bob Marley fan, felt they hurt her ears. The Ohio group dress natty, and while much of their story could be mythology, it's a great one when backed up by their funky saxes-and-guitars sound.
Alvin Lee used to be famous, but now he's unpopular like Kidney. His new CD, In Tennessee, puts him together with Scotty Moore and what amounts to the Sun rhythm section. They're on board to play either slim-and-slam dancing tunes or rockabilly and rapid-fire blues jams tacked onto minute ravers harkening back to Lee's "Hold Me Tight."
Lee and company are ductile and pointed, though they deliver one or two five-minute selections too many. In Tennessee closes satisfyingly with "I'm Going Home." It doesn't collapse into clichés, Lee's calling card getting solid revivification from a much-less-is-a-way-lot-more treatment.