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Back to Back Blues Band
Dues Paid in Full

The local blues band's choice of material is generally faultless, ranging from Muddy Waters' "Long Distance Call" to Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "She Moves Me." Toss in a couple of originals penned by lead vocalist George Cantu, and Dues Paid in Full is a neat little package. The only misstep is the inclusion of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy," which ought to R.I.P. Cantu's riffy "Don't Let Me Stand in Your Way" starts things off nicely, accompanied by sax and an additional guitarist. Cantu himself is a versatile guitarist, and drummer Johnnie Cozmik and bassist Mark Lopez toe the line rhythmically. The vocals, however, range from the serviceable (the opening cut) to the execrable ("Long Distance Call," with lead singing by Cozmik). In all fairness, the South Bay is not exactly teeming with credible blues singers. (Nicky Baxter)

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Careless Wispers

The 1994 version of Sloe, then Seed, was reckless and aggravated--a blur of psychedelic thrash presided over by Rob Campbell's ulcerated howl. The 1997 version is slightly decompressed, with real singing and melodic guitar playing. On its debut Headhunter EP, Sloe trades thrash for emo-punk, especially on "Pathetic" and the tear-jerking "Simply Stated." A charging cover of the odorous Wham! song "Careless Wispers" rounds out the package. The EP either represents a growing maturation for the band or a direct appeal to alternative-rock fans. Having a cover of Wham! at the center of your creative output tells a lot. Sloe should get on KOME quickly. Unfortunately, when the novelty wears off, it'll get dropped just as fast. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Furious George
Goes Ape!

If the Ramones were in their musical infancy, we would call them Furious George. Goes Ape!, Furious George's three-song EP, is full of above-average punk ditties driven primarily by Evan Cohen's chugging bass and George Tabb's supercharged guitars and savage vocals. Though the band plays with ferocity and spirit, its music is more recycled than last year's Christmas wrapping paper. And the lyrics are woeful, loaded with contrived rhyming ("Get outta my way, I don't feel great/I'm an angry primate" from "Monkey in a Man Suit") and pointless repetition ("I am Gilligan/I am Gilligan/I am Gilligan" from "Gilligan"). With luck, future Furious George albums will maintain the fury while gaining lyrical savvy. (Bernice Yeung)

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George Clinton
Greatest Funkin' Hits

Given the fact that George Clinton is an indefatigable experimentalist, constantly pushing, testing the limits of his hand-built hard-core R&B, it seemed inevitable that he'd come up with a hit list of updated funk. Hence, his Greatest Funkin' Hits allows the chief of chocolate-city funk the opportunity to test out his sonic theories of what the hip-hop nation ought to sound like. Funkin' bridges the gap between old-school grooves and new-school word wizardry. Clinton/P-Funk classics like "Atomic Dog," "Flashlight" and "Bop Gun" sound as nasty as they did back in the day; now, remixed and hip-hopped up, these "hits" assume an even grittier vitality. Funkin' boasts a gang of baggy-pantsed guest talent. Ice Cube (natch!), Coolio (ditto), Busta Rhymes, Ol' Dirty Bastard and others all pop in for this blowout. (NB)

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From the January 9-15, 1997 issue of Metro

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