Blues Underground Network
Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans "Traveling Fool"
Brad Vickers learned his style of Roots and Blues music from many of the great masters, such as, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rodgers, Pinetop Perkins, Odetta, and Sleepy Labeef, to name a few, whom he not only played with, but also toured and recorded with, and as such, has become, along with his band "His Vestapolitans", absolutely great in their own right. Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans "Traveling Fool" marks their 3rd release in just 3 years and is destined to receive as many, if not more, of great the great accolades and critical acclaimed reviews, that followed their 2 previous releases.
"Traveling Fool" consists of 15 great Tracks, of which, Brad Vickers was responsible for the solo writing of 8. Brad co-wrote 2 songs with Margey Peters whom also wrote 1 song, as well, for this album. For the covers, Brad Vickers chose some great ones, which included, songs written by Sonny Terry ("Diggin' My Potatoes") which was a "Traditional recording of 19 from Wizard Of The Harmonica (Storyville 8018)", Hudson Whittaker ("No Baby, No") aka Tampa Red whose was "born Hudson Woodbridge but known from childhood as Hudson Whittaker", J.B. Lenoir & Alex Adkins ("Low Down Dirty Shame"), ("J. B. Lenoir was known in the 50s for his particular zebra-patterned costumes and his brilliant female-like voice but he was a very influential musician and composer playing electric guitar"), and Leroy Carr ("How Long Blues"). "How Long, How Long Blues" is a traditional eight bar blues song made famous by Leroy Carr on his 1928 Vocalion Records recording with guitarist Scrapper Blackwell. The song is commonly referred to as "How Long Blues" and is a blues standard that has been recorded by many artists, not only in blues, but also country and western, pop, and jazz."
Joining Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans on "Traveling Fool", was Special Guest, Bobby Radcliff, whom has been hailed as "one of the greatest guitar players alive", by Jamie Dell Apa of The Baltimore Blues Society. Bobby Radcliff brings his immense talent to the forefront, on this album, with his amazing guitar wizardry.
"Traveling Fool" was recorded, engineered, and mixed, by Dave Gross and V.D. King, whom also played on this album with Gross playing Upright Bass and King playing Guitars and also doing Vocals. "Dave Gross is a multi-instrumentalists and true creative and innovative force within the music world, whose deep-seeded passion and respect for the original blues and jazz masters bring new life to the music scene and prove him to be an absolute standout among his peers." With this amount of talent on "Traveling Fool", it is not hard to see why I enjoyed it so much.
"Traveling Fool" continues with another great offering of Blues, Ragtime, Skiffle, and American Roots 'N' Blues, the music that has made them so popular. With a great voice, which is more complimentary then over powering, Brad lays an enterprising mix of tunes that really position themselves in a way that keep you excited not only for the song you are hearing, but also excited with anticipation for the next track to come. From the opening title Track "Traveling Fool", which laces together the great horn section of Mike Cowan & Jim Davis, along with the wonderful piano work of Arne Englund, to the Ragtime feel of "Glad Rags" which is brought forward beautifully with Jim Davis on Clarinet and the duet singing of Brad Vickers and Margey Peters, "Traveling Fool" is simply a tour de force of not only wonderful styles of music, but also music that does not seem out of place at all along beside the other styles.
With "Traveling Fool", Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans, along with Special Guest Bobby Radcliff and other added artists, have really created a fun and entertaining mix of music, almost like if you had made up a mix of music for your own enjoyment, and has shown us all that he has learned well from the previous masters he has mentored from.
Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans truly have a great mix of styles, all their own, which in these times of sometimes so-so repetition, and overly re-hashed music, is very refreshing and unique to come across.
"Traveling Fool" was my first introduction to Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans and was one that I truly enjoyed. High Recommended for the shear Fun and Enjoyment of it.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Special guest guitarist Bobby Radcliff has this to say about Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans and "Traveling Fool":
Sometimes I forget how much I loved those old albums from the ’60s: J. B. Lenoir and Lowell Fulson’s Chess recordings with the horns slightly out of key (which I adore)—not to mention all my old Blind Lemon Jefferson, Texas Henry Thomas, etc. albums on those funky 78-rpm-to-disc re-issue labels back then.
I can’t think of many artists today that can get the kind of raw, direct punch that was so evident in the “old masters”. For some reason, Brad Vickers does capture it. And the best part is that his music never sounds “manufactured to sound authentic”. Brad’s music doesn’t have the glossy high-tech veneer that too many artists utilize to “sound like the great artists of old”. This recording, his 3rd release on CD, is the obvious choice if you want to experience first-rate American blues/R&B music, and its related tributaries.
Brad’s vocal delivery always stays firm in a laconic, easy-going manner. I’m reminded at times of Fats Domino via Bill Monroe, but that’s an oversimplification. Brad is his own man both vocally and in his instrumental technique. Much of his guitar work is the direct result of his use of open E tuning rather than standard Spanish. This actually gives him a bit of an edge over some of his musical peers. I am always blown away by the unusual tone variations and colors he achieves. Believe me, as a practicing picker myself, you will not get certain odd inflections and subtle pitch/interval variations with standard guitar tuning. All of this adds up to some extremely nasty guitar sounds!
Of particular note, I should add, is the equal importance of his Vesapolitans line-up: Bill Rankin on percussion; Margey Peters, who adds her rich and sonorous playing on bass and fiddle; the great Jim Davis on clarinet and tenor saxophone; Matt Cowan on baritone saxophone; and one of my favorite guitar (and piano!) pickers, Arne Englund. The estimable V.D. King also makes an appearance with this fine ensemble.
I can’t say enough about Dave Gross’s production on this CD. As a guest myself on this session, I had the opportunity to observe him in the production/engineer capacities. All I can say is this: I had one of the best times in years being involved with the making of this recording. A great captain at the helm always gets the best out of musicians. I’d put him up with my favorites, Hammond Scott (Black Top), Peter K. Siegal, and Chris Matheos. All of this said, if you’re in the mood to spend some time listening and dancing—don’t forget, Mister Vickers is a rocker to the core!—to some downright incredibly hip music, then slap this in your favorite player and tear it up!
Bobby Radcliff, January, 2011
1. Traveling Fool 5:43
2. Because I Love You That Way 3:34
3. Diggin' My Potatoes 4:37
4. Don't Take My Cadillac 4:07
5. Uh Oh! 2:43
6. No Baby, No 2:54
7. Leave Me Be 5:39
8. Low Down Dirty Shame 3:57
9. Glad Rags 2:42
10. In My Dream 3:42
11. Fourteen Women 4:05
12. Skeeter Song 3:25
13. Without Moolah 3:35
14. How Long Blues 5:58
15. Rockabilly Rumble 3:33
Listen To Samples Here...