Listening to Old Souls and Wolf Tickets is like running into an old friend you didn’t expect to still have things in common with and finding that you’re still as good of friends as the last time you got together. On first listen it conjured up the old Stranded in the Jungle from the 50’s, Tom Waits, Mike Meyers’ campy beatnik routine from “So I Married and Axe Murderer,” zydeco, rockabilly, and blues.
A web search of Chuck E. Weiss turns up wildly varied and fantastically famous names. Lightnin’ Hopkins, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, Dr. John, Johnny Depp and even Lorelai Gilmore can all be linked to Weiss. Weiss grew up in Colorado, spending lots of time in his parents’ record store, and began drumming when he was only nine years old.
Weiss has played with many famous blues men, acted some, lived in a vibrant artist and celebrity apartment building, been immortalized in song by both Jones and Waits, and is a partner in the Viper Room with Depp. Due to an aversion to air travel, Weiss’ fame is firmly centered in southern California, but his talent is far flung.
On this album the songs jump styles crazily, but still feel very genuine. Each genre is tackled with finesse and respect. Weiss’ musician roster is dizzying; just trying to process it appears to require a flow chart. No matter whom he is playing with, one thing is certain: the beat will be true, and the song will swing along.
Lyrically, Weiss runs with stream of consciousness story telling, but with the vernacular of a hip communicator “Well rules they are made to be broken, except for the ones you can change, and all the hep cats I know, they been croakin’, and that’s what makes this world so doggone strange.”
“Old Souls and Wolf Tickets” is a great place to begin your education about Chuck E. Weiss and his musical influences. Asked for a quote about his friend and band mate, bassist Willie Dixon said, “Ain’t ya got ears son? That little Jew boy with the big old head be one of the best musicians in this town, this country even.” When the legends of the blues speak this plainly you can be sure your education will be a treat.
Tracklisting: Congo Square At Midnight/ Tony Did The Boogie Woogie/ It Didn’t Happen Overnight/ Sweetie-O/ Piggly Wiggly/ Two-Tone Car (an auto body experience)/ Anthem For Old Souls/ Sneaky Jesus/ Down the Road A Piece/ No Hep Cats/ Jolie’s Nightmare (Mr. House Dick)/ Blood Alley/ G*D Liars/ Dixieland Funeral
Musicians: Chuck E. Weiss- vocals, drums and percussion/ Tony Gilkyson- guitars, ukelele and mandolin/ Steve Nelson- bass/ Will McGregor- bass/ John Herron- organ and trumpet/ Spyder Mittleman- saxophone/ Stan Freese- tuba/ Jim Christie- drums and percussion/ Don Heffington drums and percussion