CD Review – Scott Ramminger “Advice From a Father To A Son”
Saxophonist Scott Ramminger is based out of D.C., but his soul’s in New Orleans. For this outing, he’s got the heartbeat of that city well represented with some of the Crescent City’s finest funksters and groovemen backing him on 7 of the ten original cuts. David Torkanowsky(Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins) trots out a spot-on Fess intro to “I Really Love Your Smile,”with Ramminger offering up a Fats Domino-flavored vocal and Neville Bros alum Shane Theriot’s guitar adding some funky twang to the mix. Undercut with Meters/funky Meters anchor George Porter Jr’s burbling funk bass,“Funkier Than Him” struts along a Dr. John decorated parade route, propelled by Johnny Vidacovitch (Johnny Adams, Fess, Willie Deville) with witchy, hoo-doo backing vocals by The McCrary sisters(Buddy Miller,Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash.)
The title cut sounds like vintage ’50s-era Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns material featuring a great trumpet solo from Vince McCool. Ramminger’s lyrics are not some maudlin collection of hackneyed cliches, but practical advice from a street-wise hipster to his kid. “They say there’s a hole in the ozone,” Ramminger informs him, “so try to keep a hat on your head.” He also provides some insights on preserving family ties and how to live life to the fullest: “Don’t forget to call your mamma/ who love you second to none/ enjoy every day/ like it might be your last- advice from a father to a son.”
The only problem with this collection is that the seven New Orleans sessions so overshadow the 3 Memphis cuts so much that they render them nearly invisible. It’s not that they’re second rate, but that the competition from a session band made up of Torkanowsky, Porter,Vidacovitch and Theriot pack such a wallop that anybody else might as well pack up and go home. It would have been better if he had saved the Memphis sessions till he had enough for another record.
Meanwhile, there’s still enough here to get you in a struttin’, hanky wavin’ mood enjoying the rollicking Big Easy feel of Ramminger and his transplanted soul.