NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quintet)

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-70)

- Terry Adams -- keyboards, vocals, harmonica 

- Steve Ferguson (RIP 2009) -- lead guitar, vocals, harmonica 

- Frank Gadler -- vocals, tambourine

- Joey Spampinato (aka Jody St. Nicholas) -- vocals, bass

- Tom Staley -- drums, percussion

  line up 2 (1970-72)

- Terry Adams -- keyboards, vocals harmonica 

NEW - Al Anderson -- vocals, guitar (replaced Steve Ferguson)

- Joey Spampinato (aka Jody St. Nicholas) -- vocals, bass

- Tom Staley -- drums, percussion


  line up 3 (1972-74)

- Terry Adams -- keyboards, vocals harmonica

- Al Anderson -- vocals, guitar 

- Joey Spampinato (aka Jody St. Nicholas) -- vocals, bass

- Tom Staley -- drums, percussion


  line up 4 (1974-94)

- Terry Adams -- keyboards, vocals harmonica 

- Al Anderson -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Tom Ardolino (RIP 2012)  -- drums (replaced Tom Staley) 

- Joey Spampinato (aka Jody St. Nicholas) -- vocals, bass


  line up 5 (1994-)

- Terry Adams -- keyboards, vocals harmonica

- Tom Ardolino (RIP 2012) -- drums (replaced Tom Staley) 

- Joey Spampinato (aka Jody St. Nicholas) -- vocals, bass

NEW - Johnny Spampinato -- lead guitar (replaced  Al Anderson) 





Al Anderson (solo efforts)

- Merseybeats USA (Terry Adams - Steve Ferguson)

- The Whole Wheat Horns

- The Wildweeds (Al Anderson)





Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  NRBQ

Company: Columbia

Catalog: CS-9858

Year: 1969

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4597

Price: $15.00

Cost: $1.00


Quick biographical overview for anyone who isn't already a big NRBQ fan (if such a person exists) ...


Keyboardist Terry Adams and lead guitarist Steve Ferguson  met while members of the Louisville-based Mersey Beats USA.  By the mid-1960s, in a quest for steadier working conditions, the pair had decamped to Miami, Florida where they hooked up with New Jersey-based The Seven of Us singer Frank Gadler, bassist Joey Spampinato (aka Joe St. Nicholas) and drummer Tom Staley.  As The New Rhythm and Blues Quintet (easy to see why they opted for NRBQ), the group quickly moved to New Jersey where their already quirky live show began attracting fans.  They also found a mentor in the form of bluesman Slim Harpo.  Harpo helped the band land a spot at Steve Paul's New York club The Scene which eventually caught the attention of A&R types working for Columbia Records.


Signed by Columbia, the group made their recording debut with 1969's cleverly titled "NRBQ".  In a nutshell, the album is simply unlike anything else being released at the time.  All but ignoring the public's infatuation with psych and blues-rock, these guys turned in a set that bounced all over the musical spectrum, including stabs at country ('Kentucky Slop Song'), hardcore blues (a steaming cover of Eddie Cochran's 'C'mon If You're Comin''), rockabilly ('C'mon Everybody'), sensitive singer/songwriter (Ferguson's 'I Didn't Know Myself') and straightforward pop ('You Can't Hide').  For goodness sake, there's even a Sun Ra cover ('Rocket Number 9') !!!  Every time I hear this album I simply scratch my head and wonder what Columbia Records was thinking when it signed them. An amazing debut that some four decades later may still be the best thing they've done.  How a newly signed band managed to get away with it is beyond me!


In spite of the fact Columbia didn't have a clue as to what to do with the band, the company still pulled two singles from the LP:


1969's 'Stomp' b/w 'I Didn't Know Myself' (Columbia catalog number 4-44865) 
1969's 'C'mon Everybody' b/w 'Rocket # 9' (Columbia catalog number 4-44937) 

"NRBQ" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) C'mon Everybody   (Capehart - Eddie  Cochran)
2.) Rocket Number 9   (Sun Ra)
3.) Kentucky Slop Song   (Terry Adams)
4.) Ida   (Terry Adams - Carla Bley)
5.) C'mon If You're Comin'   (Brownie McGhee - Sonny Terry)
6.) You Can't Hide   (Jody St. Nicholas)
7.) I Didn't Know Myself   (Steve Ferguson)


(side 2)
1.) Stomp   (Steve Ferguson)
2.) Fergie's Prayer   (Steve Ferguson)
3.) Mama Get Down Those Rock & Roll Shoes   (Terry Adams)
4.) Hymn Number 5   (Terry Adams)
5.) Hey! Baby   (Bruce Channel - Margret Cobb)
6.) Liza Jane   (traditional)


(There are apparently two versions of the LP, one which is a mis-pressing.  I've never heard it, but it supposedly sports a totally different mix which all but eliminates much of the instrumentation.)


Only 60, Ferguson died of cancer in October 2009.



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Boppin' the Blues

Company: Columbia

Catalog: CS-9981

Year: 1971

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5253

Price: $15.00


Given their willingness to try virtually anything in the musical realm, a collaboration with Carl Perkins really wasn't all that odd.  Released in 1970, "Boppin' the Blues" featured a mixture of Perkins originals and NRBQ numbers, with a Little Richard classic thrown in for good measure.


"Boppin' the Blues" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) All Mama's Children   (Carl Perkins) - 

2.) Turn Around   (Carl Perkins) - 

3.) Tina   (Jody St. Nicholas) - 

4.) Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

5.) Sure To Fall   (Carl Perkins) - 

6.) Flat Foot Flewzy   (Steve Ferguson)


(side 2)
1.) Sorry Charlie   (Carl Perkins) - 

2.) Step Aside   (Steve Ferguson)

3.) Rip It Up    (Little Richard) - 

4.) Allergic To Love   (Carl Perkins) - 

5.) On the Farm   (Terry Adams) - 

6,) Boppin' the Blues   (Carl Perkins) - 

7.) Just Coastin'   (Carl Perkins) - 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  NRBQ At Yankee Stadium

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SRM-1-3712

Year: 1978

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --


Catalog ID: 4611

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.00




Having endured almost a decade of corporate wandering (recording stints with Columbia, Kama Sutra, their own Red Rooster label), 1978's "NRBQ At Yankee Stadium" looked like NRBQ had finally found a sympathetic label in the form of Mercury Records.  Mercury actually spent some money recording the album and even promoting it, though when confronted with the band's unique image and hard-to-categorize repertoire, the company stumbled like all of their predecessors.  Ironically, in spite of the title it wasn't a live set, rather stood as their most consistent and enjoyable studio release.  This collection simply rocked from start to finish.  This time out keyboardist Terry Adams handled the majority of songwriting chores, though guitarist Al Anderson turned in the best song - a repeat of the should've been a massive hit 'Drive My Car'.  Highlights?  Crap, there really wasn't a loser performance on the album. 'Green Lights', a killer cover of Johnny Cash's 'Get Rhythm', 'The Same Old Thing' and 'Talk To Me' were all first-rate.  Take your pick.  None of these tunes was cutting edge art intended to make a big social statement, or change your life.  It was more like walking into your favorite dive bar, or greasy spoon and enjoying a cold beer, or a lunch that you knew was not healthy in any respect.  It was simply a great album to sit back and enjoy life's little pleasures.  And if you didn't know "The Q", then this was the album to make their introduction. How this one vanished without notice was simply beyond comprehension.  


Word of warning - be sure to buy a vinyl original since the CD reissue inexplicably dropped Anderson's 'Drive My Car' from the track listing.


"NRBQ At Yankee Stadium" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Green Lights   (Terry Adams - Joey Spampinato) - 3:01  rating: **** stars

With Joey Spampinato handling lead vocals, 'Green Lights' was a classic pop-rock song.  Rollicking melody, energetic performance, and just slightly quirky.  Every time I hear it I think this is the kind of song Squeeze would have killed to have written and recorded.  Why Mercury didn't tap it as a single is a crime and mystery.  Neither the sound, nor video quality are great, but YouTube has a 1982 performance of the song from a show at The Paradise.  Watching keyboardist Terry Adams is hysterical (except where he wipes his nose): NRBQ - Green Lights - @ The Paradise - 1982.mpg - YouTube

2.) Just Ain't Fair  (Joey Spampinato) - 3:01  rating: *** stars

'Just Ain't Fair' was one of those sweet ballads that the band just seemed to effortlessly toss off.  Tasty country-twang solo from Al Anderson.

3.) I Love Her, She Loves Me   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:24  rating: **** stars

'I Love Her, She Loves Me' was a tune that drove me crazy for the longest time.  Sure, I love cute as much as the next person, but there was just something so sappy about it ...  The toy keyboard also got under my skin.  Now that I'm slightly older (mid-'60s), I can appreciate it for the sweet, heartfelt, beautiful ballad it is.  Easy to see why so many folks have selected it as their wedding song.  Mercury also happened to tap it as an instantly obscure single:



- 1978's 'I Love Her, She Loves Me' b/w 'Green Lights' (Mercury catalog number 73391)


Okay, it's not NRBQ, but YouTube has a July 2011 clip of The Spampinato Brothers performing the song at "Fitgerald's" American Music Fest: Spampinato Brothers "I Love Her, She Loves Me" - YouTube






4.) Get Rhythm   (Johnny Cash) - 2:57  rating: **** stars

Admittedly I am not a big Johnny Cash fan, but their cover of 'Get Rhythm' is one of those tracks you simply can't sit still too.  It's also one of Al Anderson's standout performances.  Rockabilly for people who don't like rockabilly?  Introduced by Carlene Carter, YouTube has an energetic June 1993 performance of the tune for the Nashville Now television program.  Watching Anderson have a near meltdown on guitar is fascinating: : NRBQ- "Get Rhythm" - YouTube

5.) That's Neat, That's Nice   (Terry Adams) - 3:11  rating: ** stars

Nah, this wasn't one of my favorites, but it served to underscore one of their problems. NBRQ were just so versatile it was  like trying to box jello.  Just when you thought you'd started to figure them out along comes the horn powered jump blues 'That's Neat, That's Nice.' Complete with support from the Whole Wheat Horns, here's another track from their 1982 The Paradise appearance: NRBQ at the Paradise '82- #5- "That's Neat, That's Nice " - YouTube


(side 2)
1.) I Want You Bad   (Terry Adams - Phil Crandon) - 2:31  
rating: **** stars

Sad that most people know 'I Want You Bad' as a Long Ryders song.  They just covered it.  One of NRBQ's forgotten treasures, the song should have been a massive hit.  In spite of (or perhaps because of), Al Anderson's bizarre  guitar solo, the track was insidiously catchy and radio friendly.  

2.) The Same Old Thing   (Sherlie Matthews) - 3:01   rating: **** stars

I knew this one from The Olympics blazing soul cover.  The NRBQ arrangement didn't really  mess with the melody, but slowed the song down a touch.  Anderson turned in one of his best blue-eyed soul vocals and the rest of the band showcased their dazzling backing vocals.  Lovely ear candy ...

3.) Yes, Yes, Yes   (Terry Adams) - 2:53   rating: ** stars

Showcasing Adams on keyboardist, 'Yes, Yes, Yes' was a sweet, jazz-tinged ballad ...  Admittedly it was not the most elaborate song they've ever written.

4.) It Comes To Me Naturally   (Al Anderson) - 3:01  rating: *** stars

One of America's overlooked guitarists, kudos to Anderson for taking a short tour in the spotlight.  Adam's boogie-woogie piano actually stole the show.

5.) Talk To Me  (Terry Adams) - 2:41   rating: **** stars

Funny that on this collection Adams was responsible for the album's most commercial tunes.  With the weirdest keyboard solo you've ever heard (it sounded like Adams had smashed a Casio keyboard and still figured out how to play it), 'Talk To Me' was marvelous another pop tune with radio potential.

6.) Shake, Rattle and Roll   (Charles E. Calhoun) - 3:39  rating: *** stars

Okay, a cover of the chestnut 'Shake, Rattle and Roll' may not have been the most original choice.  That said, with support from The Whole Wheat Horns, the performance was energetic enough.  YouTube has a performance clip from a 1982 concert in Boston: NRBQ - Shake, Rattle, & Roll (Boston, MA 1982) - YouTube

7.) Ridin' In My Car   (Al Anderson) - 2:52   rating: **** stars

You only need one word for this treasure - perfection.  I've got three copies of this album and only one included 'Ridin' In My Car.'  The song was actually included on their 1977 "All Hopped Up" collection. Strange.   I found this explanation on Wikipedia:

"The song garnered a great deal of airplay in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut, but didn't break out nationally. Mercury Records thought enough of its commercial potential to license it for inclusion on the band's follow-up album At Yankee Stadium. Although the initial release of At Yankee Stadium contains it, Mercury chose not to renew the agreement, and subsequent pressings omit the song. "Ridin' In My Car" never became a national hit, but it has remained in the band's live act consistently since its release."



Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Tiddly Winks

Company: Red Rooster

Catalog: 104

Year: 1980

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4600

Price: $10.00

Cost: $66.00



Continuing their corporate wanderings, 1980's "Tiddly Winks" found the band signed to Rounder Records.  Creatively this may not be their crowning glory, but it's one of their most enthusiastic and impressive outings.  Most bands would give up their groupies to be blessed with three writers half as talented and versatile as Terry Adams, Al Anderson and Joey Spampinato.  The fact that each has a slightly different musical focus made it even more interesting - Adams continued to turn in some of the best rockers (and much of the group's quirky material), while Anderson and Spampinato served as the group's pop conscious.  Highlights included Spampinato's Beatlesque rocker 'That I Get Back Home', the pretty ballad 'Beverly' and the single 'Me and the Boys' b/w 'People' (Red Rooster catalog number RR-1005).  I've seldom heard a band that sounded as comfortable and enthusiastic ...


"Tiddly Winks" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Feel You Around Me  (Al Anderson) - 3:29

2.) Me and the Boys   (Terry Adams) - 3:28

3.) The Music Goes 'Round and Around   (Farley - Hodgson - Riley) - 2:25

4.) Beverly   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:04

5.) That I Get Back Home   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:32

6.) Roll Call   (Terry Adams) - 3:57


(side 2)
1.) Want You To Feel Good Too   (Terry Adams) - 3:37

2.) Never Take the Place of You   (Al Anderson) - 3:19

3.) You Can't Hide   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:02

4.) Definition of Love   (Terry Adams) - 2:33

5.) Hobbies   (Terry Adams)  3:55





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Groovies In Orbit

Company: Bearsville

Catalog: 1-23817

Year: 1983

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 21

Price: $8.00

Cost: $66.00


The early-1980s found the band wandering corporate America looking for a sponsor and a label.  Their temporary saviors came in the form of Albert Grossman and Todd Rundgren who signed the band to their Bearsville imprint.


Self-produced 1983's "Groovies In Orbit" found the band downplaying their eccentric side in favor of a fairly commercial and straightforward radio friendly set.  Original material like 'Smackaroo', 'Rain At the Drive-In' and 'How Can I Make You Love Me' was tuneful and highly commercial; perfect for college radio.  It should have been a massive hit, but did little commercially.        Ironically, that commercial orientation also made the album a mild disappointment.  As any self-respecting NRBQ fans will tell you, they're at their best when bouncing all over the musical spectrum.  Interesting sidebar:  Grossman and Warner Brothers (Bearsville's parent company) pressured the band to delete the song '12 Bar Blues' from the album.  The song had been penned by band friend Jack Butwell.  As a tribute to their dying friend the band agreed to cover one of his songs and steadfastly refused to pull it off the album. Grossman and Warner Brothers relented, but got their payback by refusing to release any new follow-on material.  The creative stalemate continued for three years until Grossman's 1986 death. 


"Groovies In Orbit" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Smackaroo   (Terry Adams) - 2:00

2.) Rain At the Drive-In   (Terry Adams) - 3:07

3.) How Can I Make You Love Me   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:48

4.) When Things was Cheap   (Terry Adams) - 3:52

5.) Daddy-"O"   (Santos) - 2:47


(side 2)
1.) 12 Bar Blues   (Jack Butwell - arranged by NRBQ) - 2:46

2.) A Girl Like That   (Terry Adams) - 2:44

3.) My Girlfriend's Pretty   (Terry Adams) - 2:42 

4.) I Like That Girl   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:33

5.) Get Rhythm   (Johnny Cash) - 3:01

6.) Hit the Hay   (Terry Adams) - 2:31



Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Christmas Wish

Company: Rounder

Catalog: EP2501

Year: 1986

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened); EP plays at 45 rpm

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6130

Price: $20.00


As you can tell, I'm a big NRBQ fan so their second Christmas collection 1985's "Christmas Wish"  has a special place in my heart and on my turntable.  That appreciation starts with the album cover - after all how many bands can you think of that would be willing to pose for such a goofy cover shot?   When the collection was originally released in 1985 it came out as an eight track, 45 rpm EP.   I can distinctly remember slapping it on my turntable not realizing it was recorded at 45 rpm and being shocked as the results when played at 33 rpm.  Take my word for it; play the EP at the right speed.  Alright, so now that I've fawned all over it, let me be up front and tell you this collection is far from great.  Musically this was a standard NRBQ release, featuring a mixture of traditional tunes and band originals.  Most of the were extremely short performances, including what sounded like a mixture of demos, live tracks, and studio throwaways.  Still, like your typical NRBQ album, the whole package dripped low-keyed charm and playfulness. 


"Christmas Wish" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen (instrumental)   (traditional raanged Al Anerson) - 0:48

Sounding like a studio demo snippet,  'God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen' started the set off with Al Anderson picking his way through a brief instrumental version of the song - nice jazzy vibe to the effort.   rating: *** stars

2.) Christmas Wish   (Joey Spaminato) - 2:45

The Joey Spaminato original 'Christmas Wish' had the throwaway charm that you've come to expect from these guys.  You could just picture these guys smiling their way through the song and the toy piano and kazoo (?) backing was hysterical.   rating: **** stars

3.) Electric Train   (Terry Adams) - 1:04

Terry Adam's quirky 'Electric Train' exemplified what I love about this band and why so many folks find them just too odd ...  great melody with the band doing their best to mimic a train horn.  And yes, it did have a Christmas feel to it.  rating: *** stars

4.) Here Comes Santa Claus (insturmental)   (Autrey - Aldman) - 0:43

Their instrumental rendition of 'Here Comes Santa Claus' was plain strange.  Played on what sounded like an early Casio keyboard, it wasn't the most tuneful version of the song you've ever heard and the sound quality gave the impression of someone who had recorded it from the back row of a club concert with a cheap 1970s-era cassette machine.   rating: * star


(side 2)
1.) Jolly Old St. Nicholas   (arranged by Terry Adams) - 1:48

'Jolly Old St. Nicholas' had previously been released as a single.  Musically they played it fairly straightforward on this one.  The track featured another nice guitar break from Al Anderson. 



- 'Jolly Old St. Nicholas' had been tapped as a single b/w 'Christmas Wish' (Red Rooster catalog number 1006)   rating: *** stars

2.) Jingle Bells   (arranged by NRBQ) - 1:37

Their instrumental version of 'Jingle Bells' sounded like it was recorded at one of their shows - the band's famous for taking audience requests and the band patter sounded like this had been an audience request.  rating: ** stars

3.) It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (instrumental)   (arranged by Keith Spring) - 0:47

Showcasing the Whole Wheat Horns, their instrumental version of 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear' was suitably somber.  rating: ** stars

4.) Christmas Wish (Reprise)   (Joey Spaminato) - 1:07

The album ended with a brief reprise of the best song - 'Christmas Wish'.  Nice enough, but they should have just expanded the original version ...    rating: *** stars



Over the years a couple of expanded Christmas packages have been release on CD.

 Japanese Dreamsville version     US Clang! version


- 1995 "Christmas Wish" (Big Notes catalog number ???)

- 1997 "Christmas Wish" (Rounder Records catalog number ???)

- 2000 "Christmas Wish Expanded Edition" Dreamsville catalog YDCD-0040

- 2000 "Christmas Wish Expanded Edition" Clang! catalog 614511752923)


The Dreamsville package had 17 tracks.  The Clang! package was expanded to 19 19 tracks with the addition of 'Holiday' and 'The Christmas Song'.  The expended package included four selections from 1978's "Merry Christmas from NRBQ" (Red Rooster catalog EP-1), all of the 1986 "Christmas Wish" EP, and five miscellaneous tracks.  


"Christmas Wish Expanded Version"

1.) God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen (instrumental)   (traditional) - 0:43

2.) Christmas Wish - 2:53

3.) Electric Train - 1:09

4.) Here Comes Santa Claus - 0:50

5.) Christmas Time Is Here - 3:08

6.) Jolly Old St. Nicholas - 1:56

7.) Jingle Bells - 1:40

8.) Holiday - 1:53

9.) White Christmas - 2:18

10.) It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - 0:50

11.) The First Noel - 1:10

12.) Away In a Manger - 0:58

13,) Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - 1:03

14.) Jesus Loves Me - 1:16

15.) God Bless Us All - 2:16

16.) Message from the North Pole - 1:31

17.) The Christmas Song - 3:09

18.) Christmas Wish (Reprise) - 1:26

19.) Christmas Wish (instrumental) - 1:26





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Lou and The Q

Company: Rounder

Catalog: 3098

Year: 1986

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 3209

Price: $20.00


I can remember stumbling across this NRBQ album  and thinking it was one of the stranger collaborations I'd ever heard of.   Of course at the time I didn't know that professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano had briefly served as NRBQ's manager for several years.  Released in 1986, "Lou and the Q" was a true compilation pulling together all sorts of miscellaneous material ranging to the previously released title track to a radio a for their 1980 "Tiddly Winks" album, and a brief interview with Albano himself.  Side two featured live material seemingly recorded at a performance at My Father's Place.  There were a couple of interesting efforts - the classic 'Me and the Boys' and the live version of 'It Was A Accident', but for the most part this was a collection for NRBQ completist. 


"Lou and the Q"

(side 1)

1.The Captain's Roll Call - 0:29   rating: ** stars

Finally an example of truth in advertising !!!  Captain Lou introducing the band members and telling an off color joke.
2.) Captain Lou   (Al Anderson - Terry Adams) - 2:30

Originally recorded and released as a  1982 single, 'Captain Lou' was a sweet, ir slightly disconcerting tribute to their friend and manager Lou Albano.  The Captain actually sang on  the refrain and provided the meltdown closing rants.

- 1982's 'Captain Lou!' b/w 'Boardin House Pie' (Red Rooster catalog number 1010)
3.) Tiddly Winks Radio Ad   (Lou Albano) - 1:00   
rating: ** stars

The usually hyped up Albano singing the praises of NRBQ over brief clips of 'Me and the Boys' and 'Never Take the Place of You'. 
4.) Me And The Boys   (Terry Adams) - 3:28  
rating: **** stars

One of the songs off of "Tiddly WInks", the rollicking 'Me and the Boys' was simply one of the best things the band ever recorded.  If Nick Lowe could have massive American hits, you had to wonder how radio continually overlooked these guys.
5.) La Vie En Rose (instrumental)    (Arranged by Lou Albano) - 1:07
    rating: ** stars

'La Vie En Rose' was a brief  live track showcasing Albano on somewhat accomplished piano.
6.) Lou Interview - 3::20   
rating: ** stars

Albano talking (a mile a minute), about managing NRBQ (with a plug for himself and professional wrestling).
7.) Boardin' House Pie   (Terry Adams - Donn Adams)  - 2:57 
rating: *** stars

'Boardin' House Pie' had previously been released as the 'B' side to their 'Captain Lou' single.  Showcasing Terry Addams on Hammond B3, musically it was a slinky, slightly Stax flavored tune that featured Albano repeating the title a couple of times throughout the song.
8.) Terry And the Raccoon  (Lou Albano) - 1:23   
rating: * stars

'La Vie En Rose' was a brief  live track showcasing Albano on somewhat accomplish

Who knows what this spoken word segment was about ... Terry Adams and a raccoon.



(side 2)

1.) Introductions - 1:06    rating: * stars
2.) Want You To Feel Good Too   (Terry Adams) - 5:10
   rating: *** stars

With Adams on vocals and keyboards 'Want You To Feel Good Too' was a nice, bluesy live number recorded at Roslyn New York's My Father's Place.   The Whole Wheat Horns provided backing.
3.) Michael Row The Boat Ashore - 2:24
    rating: ** stars

Another live performance, about the best thing you could say about 'Michael Row The Boat Ashore' was it showcased their broad and eclectic repertoire and quirky sense of humor.
4.) It Was A Accident   (Al Anderson) - 3:44  
rating: **** stars

With Anderson handling lead vocals, the bouncy and smirky 'It Was A Accident' was another highlight and apparently an audience favorite.  Another tune that should have made them FM radio favorites.
5.) Don't She Look Good 
  (Joey Spampinato) - 2:50   rating: *** stars

Imagine hearing this one after a couple of cold beers and you'll get a feel for just how good these guys were live.  Not sure why Adams decided he should be playing the piano with what sounded like a brick.
6.) Encores
    rating: * stars

Lots of audience chanting and Captain Lou leading the cheers ...

7.) Tiddly Winks TV Spot   (Donn Adams) - 0:36    rating: * stars

Without the video clip, this one didn't have much impact.
7.) One Time - 0:26
    rating: * stars

Albano on a tear with a couple of nasty words in the mix.


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  RC Cola and a Moon Pie

Company: Rounder

Catalog: EP2501

Year: 1986

Country/State: Miami, Florida

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 193

Price: $20.00



For various reasons, including the sheer length of their recording career, as well as the multitude of labels they've been on, NRBQ's discography is kind of a mess.  No matter how you looke at it, 1986's  "RC Cola and a Moon Pie" was an odd addition to the catalog.  I'm not sure what the marketing angle was, but the album served as a mixture of reissue and odd and ends compilation.  Eight of the tracks were pulled off the band's third release - 1973's "Workshop".  The other four songs reflected: two previously unreleased tracks ('Ratch-I-Tatch' and 'Louisville'), an obscure ingle 'Sourpuss', and a track off their second LP ('Don't Knock At My Door').  The track line-up didn't make a great deal of sense to me, but then I'm not in music marketing.   Why wouldn't you have simply reissued "Workshop" with a couple of bonus tracks ...  



"RC Cola and a Moon Pie" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Mona  (Joey Spampinato) - 2:21

One of their best compositions, the breezy, country-tinged 'Mona' was the perfect song for a Saturday afternoon.  They've seldom sounded as relaxed and playful and the acoustic guitar solos are wonderful.   rating: **** stars

-2.) RC and a Moon Pie   (Terry Adams) - 3:32

Terry Adams' inspiration apparently came from his own youthful love of RC and Big Bill Lister's 1951 hit 'Gimme an RC Cola and a Moon Pie'.  A '50s-styled blues workout, here's another one where the band sounded like they were having a blast recording the tune.   There are actually two versions of 'RC Cola and a Moon Pie'.  The short version was included on the 'Workshop' album.  A longer version was found on the flip side of their 1973 'Come On If You're Comin' single.    rating: **** stars

3.) C'mon If You're Comin'    B. McGhee) - 3:17

They've recorded it a couple of times, but this version of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry's 'Come On If You're Comin'' is the best of the lot.  Sheer exhuberance and joy; a pleasure to groove to.  As mentioned above, it was released as a 1973 single.   rating: **** stars

4.) Ratch-I-Tatch    (Terry Adams) - 3:40

One of the two previously unreleased tracks, it was pretty easy to see why 'Ratch-I-Tatch' had been shelved.  While it had a bluesy hook, musically the track sounded like a demo that never quite gelled.  The Whole Wheat Horns were prominently featured on the second half of the song.   rating: ** stars

5.) Deaf, Dumb and Blind    (Joey Spampinato) - 2:24

'Deaf, Dumb and Blind' found the band at their most pop oriented.  Catchy and highly commercial, its hard to believe this one wasn't tapped as a single.  A bunch of mid-'70s English new wave popsters  (Ian Gomm, Nick Lowe), would seem to owe these guys a major bow of gratitude for inspiration.   rating: **** stars

6.) Louisville (instrumental)   (Terry Adams) - 1:00

The second previously unreleased track, the brief instrumental 'Louisville' showcased the Whole Wheat Horns and sounded like something Randy Newman might have been for a film score.  Forgettable.   rating: ** stars


(side 2)
1.) Sourpuss  (Steve Ferguson) - 2:01

Written by original lead guitarist Steve Ferguson and  previously released as a single, 'Sourpuss' was a touch too country for my taste though the lyrics were actually kind of funny ("you've got a personality like an onion ring").  rating: ** stars

2.) Miss Moses   (Terry Adams) - 1:05

No idea what it was about, but 'Miss Moses' was the album's most complex, intriguing, and relaxing offering.  It also showed what a wonderful voice Adams had.  Shame it was so short.  rating: **** stars

3.) I Got a Little Secret   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:37

A nice pocket rocker, ' I Got a Little Secret' has always reminded me a bit of what Los Lobos would sound like if they ever decided to channel a '60s pop band.  Can a song be cute?  If so, here's a great example of one.   rating: **** stars

4.) Get that Gasoline Blues    Terry Adams - C. Craig) - 3:13

I'm guessing it was written during the early-1970s gas crises (anyone out there old enough to remember OPEC?), but 'Get that Gasoline Blues' was the kind of song that I'd normally detest - far too clever for its own good, but then the guitar solo kicks in and as icing on the cake, they start chanting the names of every gas company known to mankind.  Hard not to be won over by that type of goofiness.   rating: **** stars

5.) Don't Knock At My Door   (Joey Spampinato) - 2:52

A personal favorite, they simply kick the living stuffing out of 'Don't Knock At My Door'.  A song I can listen to time after time, after time.  rating: **** stars

6.) Four Million B.C. (instrumental)   (Terry Adams) - 2:37

Like the earlier 'Louisville', the instrumental ' Four Million B.C.' showcased the Whole Wheat Horns and again sounded like a piece of incidental music for a film about ragtime.   Didn't do much for me.  rating: ** stars


Given it's fractured birth (for goodness sakes, again, why not just reissue "Works"), the album wasn't the most consistent thing they ever released, but it's an easy way to get a peek at prime NRBQ - that being Terry Adams, Al Anderson, Joey Spampinato, and Tom Staley.  Let me add the album cover is a personal favorite, appealing to my Southern roots and my youth - I'm old enough to have actually enjoyed an RC and a Moon Pie for lunch.