The Decoys are a five man rhythm and blues powerhouse consisting of some of the most seasoned and respected musicians worldwide.
Load up on the Decoys
The Decoys show that the sum of the whole is indeed supported by the parts (or players). It's nice to have Johnny Sandlin as the commander of this brigade, because he's got some stable. Here's a four-corner framework of painful, soulful vocals (Scott Boyer of Cowboy, part of the Allman Brothers Band extended family), short-but-sweet guitar licks (Kelvin Holly of Little Richard's band); David Hood's slunky, funky bass, as thick as tar as he stays right on top of every bass drum kick; a turnstile of tormented keyboard (NC Thurman), and a muscular rhythm section, supplemented by a cast of local heroes and rogues. Spooner Oldham, Donnie Fritts, Bobby Whitlock, The Muscle Shoals Horns, Brian Wheeler, James Hooker-there's enough guys here to field a damn good softball game, too, as long as the barbecue is kept up (and no duck on the menu, mind you). The Decoys work from afar and close, so when there's a gig, the paycheck beckons. However, friends also count, and when there's room to play and the time clock is off, let's cook!
And do they! The title song immediately shows Scott's growl is a dangerous thing, especially when he's caught on that another man has been prowling around his den. Well, if "Nadine" from New Orleans was the source of his loss, it sounds like she could melt steel with her charms, and it's no wonder why his imagination is on overdrive. This has a very strong vibe like Mr. Lucky's "Memphis Stripper," so the ceiling sprinkler system may ignite any minute. Ya gotta just love those clean lines that Kelvin slices-he's got such a simple but effective approach. Service notice on Steve Cropper that there's a helluva reason to hook up with Kelvin for a duet. Hats off to Scott for his delivery on Eddie Hinton's "Down in Texas," because the sweat is fresh on Boyer's work clothes with honest toil. His portrayal of Eddie's zest makes you want to hug yourself with his memory, and you make sure you notice the fast-setting cement of the horn section.
Walt Aldridge is a busy author with four tunes featured, and his "Bits and Pieces" gets a man's sorrowful view on an old flame (my Georgia Songbird friend E.G. Kight does a separate version of this for the ladies on Come Into the Blues); but rejoice, because Scott's singing from the rooftop about his new main squeeze on "24-7-365," and those measurements are the ones he loves best. But there's got to be some kind of action that's getting a lot of attention, because "Neighbor, Neighbor" has been snooping too close for comfort. Credit Scott again with taking the gentleness of a song (here it's Gregg Allman's "Melissa"), adding subtle changes (a fingerpicking intro versus strumming), and giving it a new set of wings. Kelvin, too, rides the ocean currents on guitar.
When these guys want to have fun, "Get Down" is more than an order-it's a call for comradeship and musical joy, and that's what these guys do best. Getting back to those sad times just won't be avoided, though, and "Good Days, Bad Days" is testimony why depression is a serious condition. Get Scott to a love doctor, because he's gotta get cured, y'all. Kelvin's sinewy guitar offers some remedy on "What's Up with That," `cause it's getting time to trade in on that woman again. For sure, it's because "Her Mind is Gone," and don't be the last man out the door. But do these guys learn their lesson? They don't call it the blues for nothing, especially when "Desire" is knocking-or swaying, I should say...and Lord, is she calling my name?
Maybe the Decoys were right: the roadsign might have said `Dangerous Curves ahead,' and I have to pull over and have another look-or listen. Just remember that a good pickup in a dark smoky place also refers to more than a truck or a guitar accessory. Sounds like there's some bad-is-good company to find on this disc-and I've got mine in mind. You should get some too, before the Decoys beat you to her.