Featured Album: Quicksand Blues – Songs by Kermit Lynch
QUICKSAND BLUES – Songs By Kermit Lynch
WHO: Esteemed wine importer Kermit Lynch, a man who has played a vital role in bringing good wine to the American dinner table these last few decades, author of celebrated memoir ‘Adventures On The Wine Route,’ and Gigondas vigneron, puts a bunch of his songs on CD. Yawn?
WHAT: Turns out that Lynch was a poor frustrated blues musician long before he became a rich and successful wine impresario. But he’s far from a frustrated performer. On Quicksand Blues, he takes a backseat role, allowing the likes of old guitarist buddy Boz Scaggs, vocalist Alvin Youngblood Hart and drummer Ricky Fataar to interpret his old compositions. The only time you hear Kermit on this album of his songs is when he sings lead (and quite passably so) on the title track. But then, wouldn’t you remain in the background in such esteemed company?
WHY: “It was Provence in the middle of summer, and the smells were of the last embers under the grill, and, of course, another bottle of something good and old out of the cellar, for I was, after all, chez Kermit Lynch… talk turned back to the early days and the heady haze that was San Francisco and Berkeley in the sixties. Turns out Kermit had been fronting a band and writing songs in those days, and he just happened to have a cassette around somewhere…. The next day Kermit seemed certain I had offered to gather some top musical talent in my recording studio in order to… guess what?” Boz Scaggs in the liner notes.
WORDS: “You shouldn’t be standing in the quicksand writing twelve bar blues.” From the title track.
WINNERS: Performances and production alike are top-notch, ensuring that Quicksand Blues will earn favor with purists everywhere. And most of Lynch’s songs, while simplistic, are also of quality. ‘Dirt Road’ is a fuzz-ridden ode to infidelity vociferously realized by Hart, ‘Awake For The Count’ a laid-back account of insomnia huskily interpreted by soul man Jackie Payne, while ‘Quicksand Blues’ itself is a reassuringly honest look in the mirror by a 20-something Lynch “back when my band wasn’t earning enough to keep a decent jug of red wine on my kitchen table.”
WHINE: Production values aside, there’s no hint of modernity here. And just nine songs long, it seems like Lynch never composed a full album’s worth of lasting material. Also, no-one should ever compose a faux country song and use the word country in its title, as Lynch mistakenly attempted with ‘Country Living.’
WEB: At Kermit’s web site you can not only buy the record, you can also read about his latest wine releases.
WINE: Lynch is seen strumming what looks like a jeroboam of Le Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape on one of the sleeve images. And no surprise: he is partners with that esteemed estate’s Brunier family in Domaine Les Pallières in neighboring Gigondas. His country pile, meanwhile, is down the road from Domaine Le Tempier in Bandol. All these would be perfect accompaniments, but if you can’t afford them, look out for the Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Sélectionée par Kemit Lynch, a Grenache-dominated blend that he assembles each year from the fruits of his favorite producers. In this case (of wine), Boz Scaggs is not among them.