Archive for the Papa Joe GRAPPA Category

Papa Joe GRAPPA – Too White To Sing The Blues 2005

Posted in BLUES, Papa Joe GRAPPA on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Papa Joe GRAPPA – Too White To Sing The Blues 2005


Tired of listening to the same cookie cutter musicians who are trying to be and sound somene else? Then check out Papa Joe Grappa’s debut CD “Too White to Sing the Blues.” It has 13 tracks on topics like plastic surgery, medical marijuana, oversized SUVs, jury duty, Starbucks, priests and altar boys and teachers sleeping with students — all done in Papa Joe’s inimitable style. Papa Joe Grappa is unique and has been described as “the square peg in the round hole of the blues.”
If you put the essence of the past year or so s worth of Jay Leno s monologues to jazz flavoured blues music, the result would be Papa Joe Grappa s new CD, Too White to Sing the Blues. It is no surprise since Papa Joe, whose real name is Joe Medeiros, is the head writer for Leno during the day. The result is a CD of Joe s understated guitar played with jazzy undertones and topical lyrics exploring the joys of modern living fraught with SUV s, plastic surgery, teacher-student relations, priest/alter boy relations, legalized pot, jury duty and Starbucks while the title track brilliantly skewers white bluesmen. You Get Old If You re Lucky is a witty ode to aging. If you aren t politically correct, you will not only bust a gut laughing, but be impressed with the quality of musicianship behind the music. Papa Joe Grappa is pure fun for the twisted mind.
By Richard Amery Kenora.
Too White to Sing the Blues is a refreshingly unserious collection of humorous blues – not a song here has to do with poverty, cheating, alcohol, or any other standard subject. Papa Joe Grappa is an LA-based songwriter whose humor hits the mark whether his target is SUVs, aging, church sex scandals, plastic surgery culture, medical marijuana, Mary Kay Letourneau or whites singing the blues. With an accomplished band and tasty guitar, Grappa delivers his pointed messages well.

The 13 tracks are all Papa Joe originals, his observations of everyday life (what could be funnier than this?) in which he addresses such relevant social issues as plastic surgery produced women, medical marijuana, 21st century teachers’ “pets”, and the misery associated with serving on jury duty among others. However, to insure that this recording is not only funny but also a very credible musical work, Papa Joe has enlisted the aid of some world class musicians. While Papa Joe demonstrates on the recording that he is a serious (and seriously good) guitarist, his choice of band mates on this project is brilliant. As Weird Al depended heavily upon the musical genius of Rick Derringer in his work, Papa Joe likewise calls upon the incredible talents of blues rock artist/producer/sound engineer Alan Mirikitani (BB Chung King and the Buddaheads) for this project. For a rhythm section, Papa Joe would recruit a national treasure and perhaps my personal favorite bassist Gerald Johnson (Steve Miller Band and others) and a most impressive Gary Mallaber (Van Morrison, Steve Miller, Bruce Springsteen) on drums. The keyboard and horn duties are in no less capable hands, as veteran Marty Grebb (Buckinghams and others) handles those roles most admirably. Now for the backup singers, let’s add to the mix the Sweet Inspirations, who from 1968 until 1977 sang behind Elvis. Suffice it to say that all things considered, this is a most ambitious debut recording.

The recording is both funny lyrically and enjoyable musically as well, a feat that is in of itself quite remarkable. The material here is wide in scope, combining elements ranging from blues, cool jazz, 50s rock, and boogie woogie. No matter the style, each track is a high quality recording. I have a lot of favorites on this set, including “Why Didn’t My Teacher Do Me”, “Medical Marijuana” where once again Gerald Johnson displays just how a professional bassist should sound, “Too White to Sing the Blues”, showcasing Papa Joe’s outstanding guitar skills and featuring lyrics in which he laments “my first name ain’t Muddy, my last name ain’t King”, with perhaps my favorite track being the Chuck Berry flavored “Damn Big SUV” in which Joe complains of monster SUVs and trucks, both of which obstruct your view while driving. I have found myself singing this daily on my commute home on the Nashville interstate highway system.

There are also a couple of songs intended to be more serious than the others, “She’s Beautiful and She Don’t Care”, written for Papa Joe’s daughter’s 16th birthday and “Start Again”, a very jazz flavored tune in which Papa Joe recounts his first sighting of the lady who would later become his wife. These too are of excellent quality, and they serve as evidence that Papa Joe is also genuinely a nice person as well as being a talented musician and writer.

It’s all good, cleverly written and splendidly performed by everyone involved and has earned the Bluesrockers “buy this unless you are completely anal” seal of approval.
Estelle Brown- (Background Vocals),
Myrna Smith- (Background Vocals),
Portia Griffin- (Background Vocals),
Lee Thornburg- (Trumpet),
Dave McKelvey, Michael Fell- (Harmonica),
Marty Grebb- (Organ, Electric Piano, Baritone,Tenor Sax),
James Intveld- (Acoustic Bass),
Gerald Johnson (Bass).
01. Manmade Woman 3:32
02. Too White to Sing the Blues 4:16
03. Why Didn’t My Teacher Do Me? 4:26
04. Jury Duty 3:49
05. Medical Marijuana 3:45
06. Altar Boy Blues 4:36
07. (You Get) Old If You’re Lucky 3:36
08. Damn Big Suv 3:39
09. Married Man Blues 4:34
10. Bedbug Boogie 3:19
11. She’s Beautiful and She Don’t Care 2:20
12. Start Again 4:23
13. Them Starbucks Blues 5:00

Continue reading