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Women & Work

Lucero

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Album Review

Memphis, Tennessee's Lucero gained immeasurably when they added keyboard ace Rick Steff to their ranks in 2006. Steff is deeply rooted in their native city's musical heritage. As evidenced from their brief romance with Universal on 1372 Overton Park, he added a touch of Memphis' soul and R&B traditions to Lucero's rocking alt-country and barroom boogie. On Women & Work, their ATO debut, they step even deeper into Memphis traditions. Working once again with producer Ted Hutt at Ardent, the sextet has been augmented by the horns of Memphis' Jim Spake (Al Green) and Scott Thompson (Ray Charles, Solomon Burke). That said, Lucero still sound like no one but themselves; it's as if this sound was always there just waiting for them to mature enough to let it breathe. Ben Nichols' songwriting is as homespun and sharp as ever. His protagonists are the same romantic, hard-bitten characters that real life exudes in spades, and he has a way of twisting acceptance into a refusal to accept defeat. On the brief intro to "On My Way Downtown," the album's opener, he rasps with a young Marlon Brando's bravado: "I know the last time we drank, I was a little less than behaved/But come on out tonight. Oh I'll be good tonight." As the song kicks into gear with a B-3, an upright piano, and guitarist Brain Venable's woolly I-IV-V progression, the horns kick in hard. When Nichols sings: "When you're around, I'm more the man I should be....." it's as if he's convinced, and she will be too. The title track is a choogling, bar stomping drinking song with '50s-style barrelhouse rock piano from guest Rick Jeffries. The band's trademark alt-country is tinged by Memphis soul on "It May Be Too Late." Nichols' wayward protagonist wants his woman back in the worst way despite his wandering ways. As is typical, his final reasoning for her to return is twisted — with souled-out horns blazing, he sings: "Maybe the best way...For you to save me..Is by letting me save you." Only Nichols can turn lines like that and get away with them. Southern-fried boogie is evident in "Juniper" and "Like Lightning" (with a dynamite female backing chorus on the latter). And Lucero may never get closer to straight Memphis soul than on the greasy "Who You Waiting On?" The closer, "Go Easy," is an affirmative country song that eventually builds itself up with a gospel chorus — complete with choir! Intensity rises with repetition; piano, organ, guitars, and low slung tom-toms all erect it. Nichols' growl in front of that choir becomes awe-inspiring. Women & Work is the sound of a mature, confident band, fully embracing their hometown's musical legacy, and wrapping it inside their own sound, making each both larger and deeper. All killer, no filler.

Customer Reviews

Lucero continues to impress.

I've been a Lucero fan since their Tennessee album, and I'm always duly impressed at how they continue to evolve their sound without losing the key element that makes their fans love them. Women and Work is no exception. Outstanding album.

First album.

First album I’ve bought from them. Overall pretty good music. I’ll keep up with them from now on.

This is the one that got me looking and listening

The first time I had seen or listened to this outfit, was outside on the river in North Little Rock. That was it! So so solid and gut wrenching(in a good way). This album is on the play list for my rides and commutes.

Got to be seen live and in a small setting to truly appreciate.

Biography

Born: August 29, 1969 in Mexico City, Mexico

Genre: Pop in Spanish

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Mexican pop peformer Lucero began as a child actress in productions like "Alegrías de Mediodía" and "Chispita." As a teen, she appeared in the film Coqueta, which also featured Pedro Fernandez. She also performed in soap operas like "Cuando Llega El Amor," "Los Parientes Pobres" and "Lazos de Amor." Lucero also...
Full Bio
Women & Work, Lucero
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Customer Ratings

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