Review: “one altruistic Bluesman”

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[By Kyle Deibler | Blues Bytes] Peter Karp is one altruistic Bluesman. I’ve just gotten his new release, The Arson’s Match. In reading the supporting PR insert as well as the disc’s liner notes, I find that most of the material has never been released until now. The bulk of the material comes from two records that Peter recorded — Road Show and Turning Point, neither of which were never released nationally. The disc that I’ve received is a live CD, recorded in NYC and featureing Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones, on guitar. It’s an excellent recording and Peter’s donating all of the proceeds from this disc to Ovarian Cancer Research. It doesn’t get any better than that so let’s give it a listen.

Peter and the band open with the title track, “The Arson’s Match,” and I’m going to take it on good faiPKarsonsmatchCOVERth that Mick is responsible for the awesome slide intro to the tune. As Peter sings, “You know the arson’s match…it took my happy house and home…you know I work so hard….for everything that I had…you know the arson’s match…took it just like that.” Dennis Gruenling is blowing some mean harp in the background and I’m convinced that Peter is telling a true story here. Jim Ehinger is on the keyboards and I’m hearing some sweet B3 in the intro to our next track, “Gee Chee Gee Chee Wawa.” Peter seems to have come across a voodoo woman down in old Mexico and consults with her for her sage advice, including, “Go quickly, boy…commune with the moon…her boney finger pointing at the sky…she says the night is falling fast…while the shadows are on the run…she said…don’t be afraid…she said the shadows…always lead you to the sun…she say…gee chee gee chee wawa…now gee chee gee chee wawa…go.” And with that advice Peter is off into the night.

“Y’all Be Lookin’” is the next cut and Daniel Pagdon on bass with Paul Unsworth on the drums are holding the back end down nicely. Mick’s guitar is front and center as Peter talks about some folks looking for love. “Y’all might be looking for a fight…got your mop tops screwed too tight, baby; you’re out there looking for love.” I’m assuming “The Turning Point” is the title track from that particular unreleased album of Peter’s, and it’s a ballad that provides a nice change of pace as Peter is doing some self-reflecting about the woman he loves. “And I’ve never been…any good…to myself for you…and if that’s a crime…I’m guilty…for all that I’ve put you through…and as I search the road for a sign…to take me to another joint…I find myself wondering…if either of us know…I’m heading for the turning point.” Peter would do anything he could to get this woman back, but it seems she’s gone for good and the turning point is where he decides to just let go.

Up next is “The Nietzsche Lounge” and I find that an odd title for a tune. The best description I can give is that in the middle of chaos, the Nietzsche Lounge seems to be a place of refuge for all the lost souls in the Universe and I’ll leave it at that. David Keys is at the piano for our next track, “Your Prettyness,” and here is describing all he likes about the woman he loves. “You got no style…you lack grace…in the morning it looks like Picasso painted your face…bad teeth, crooked smile…well her I admit…I may digress…but I love your prettyness.” There’s a lot to find fault with he,r but regardless of all of her faults, Peter loves her prettyness. Dave’s keyboard work is as disjointed as this tune and it all works out well in the end.

There’s a dark tone to our next cut, “Rolling on a Log,” that appeals to me and here Peter is talking about his misspent youth. “When I was born…they called me a voodoo child…folks said they never seen a baby that was so damn wild…when I hit the road I could hear them say…that boy will never be nothing til his dying day…now I’m rolling….rolling on a log.” Mick provides us with a sweetly picked intro to Peter’s next track, “I’m Not Giving Up,” another ballad from Peter. “I’m not giving up…not giving up on you, baby…I’m not going out…I’m not walking out on you honey…I’m not tripping you…I’m not giving up…giving up on you.” Whatever the problems may be, Peter’s definitely in this relationship for the duration and staying by the woman he loves.

The tempo picks back up and the band rolls on to “Treat Me Right.” Peter’s woman has her eye on another man and Peter’s not sure what she’s going to do next. “She said…he’s all man…not like all the other guys…and Peter’s left to wonder, “now, baby…why ain’t you treating me right?” Seems the grass is greener on the other side this time and Peter’s left out in the cold.

The band closes out the disc with “Train O’Mine” and Dennis’s harp is at the front of the mix as Peter tells us about the lessons learned from his father and mother. “I’m standing at the crossroads of nowhere…and trying to get my face in the sun…I could use salvation…a little forgiveness and a loaded gun.” Dad’s advice was to get down on your knees and pray for forgiveness; Mom took the other tact, throw a match on it and walk away. I’m thinking that Peter followed his Mom’s advice here.

The Arson’s Match is a rocking record from Peter Karp, Mick Taylor and the Road Show Band as they lit up the stage in New York City that night. Prior to its release, the only other place it had been heard was on Sirius-XM radio, so I’m glad that Peter decided to put it out. It showcases a different side of Peter than I’ve listened to before and Mick’s fretwork was on fire that night. You can learn more about Peter Karp and his support of Ovarian Cancer Research on his website at peterkarp.com. This is a very good live recording and all of the proceeds go to a very good cause, so what more can you ask for? It’s a definite win-win for me.

– Kyle Deibler

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