Drummer-led groups are rare; ones in which the drummer is also the lead singer are even more so. David Raven is literally out front, pounding a unique stand up drum kit and belting out lead vocals for the swamp rock trio Mojo Monkeys. Joining Raven are two other veteran L.A. sidemen, Billy Watts on guitar and Taras Prodaniuk on bass. They have individually worked with Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt and Keith Richards, among others. They describe the Mojo Monkeys project as a “labor of love,” and should qualify that as a ” love of the groove,” as their second release Blessings and Curses shows so well. With songs ranging from funk to country, fueled by Raven’s playfully sardonic sing along lyrics that take us from the bayou to the city of angels, the disc is roots rock. Collectively, the trio has played on thousands of recordings with the chops to prove it, but they show great restraint here in giving us only the tastiest bits that serve each song, keeping them centered on grooves that feel more like a blessing than a curse.
About Rick J Bowen
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