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Monday, May 18, 2009

Don’t Need No Reason to Party: A Review

By Audrey Coffman

If you live in San Felipe and don’t know Denny Flannigan, you’ve been missing one of the big reasons for living here.  We party hard in the Baja, and nothing’s more fun than spending a couple hours partying with Denny and his wife, Sandi.

“Name That Tune” with Denny as the MC is goofiness and exhausting good fun, and, when he hits the keyboard, guitar or microphone, you’ll witness top-notch musicianship. His new CD, “Don’t Need No Reason To Party”, is a compilation of a 40-year-plus career, a sampling of his best, so grab your earphones and have yourself a blast.  Sit still, I dare you.

There is so much good stuff in this CD, but I must admit “Lovesick Blues” blows me away. With Denny’s frisky lyrics and the crisp harmonies, this hard-driving number is what rock’n roll is all about. If this cut doesn’t make you rocket out of your chair and start dancing, babies, listen to “Mexicoma”.  It’s all about the Baja state of mind, when we’ve run out of money but we’re still loaded with mischief.  Fun item included: our own pharmacist/local percussionist, Tavo, adds a devilish footnote in the bandido mode. “Bumble B. Boogie”, with his signature hot keyboarding, is Denny’s trademark number, and the title song, “Don’t Need No Reason To Party” is an anthem for fun, with whoops, shouts and horsepower under the hood. For bell-ringing vocals, check out Blondie-like “Cause for Concern”.

Denny generously used this opportunity to showcase some of the many talented musicians here in town. Arturo Esquivias Yee is a masterful guitarist.  His solo intro on “San Felipe Salsa” is lovely, reminiscent of Santana, while his collaboration with Denny on the music in both “Salsa” and “Gata Loca” is first-rate.  Listen to “Gata Loca” to hear Arturo at his  best.  Collaborating on the love-gone-wrong lyrics was another local of note, Kat Hammontre of “Kat’s Korner”, and our resident authority on all that’s newsworthy.  Jim Manning, former “Diamond” and solid guitarist, adds depth to both songs. He’s another guy who adds much to the Baja music experience we enjoy.  Still of local importance is the innovation of the CD’s packaging.  Chuey Alvarez, home-grown expert in all things photographic, did the art lay-out, wrapped it around totally recycled paper and created something unique to the industry. A collector’s item and “green”, to boot.

While “No Reason” encompasses local talent, it’s impressively connected to many of the best known names in the music industry;  Jim Stafford (“Spiders and Snakes”), Steve Alaimo, Santo and Johnny, Cash McCall, Phil Spector(Sorry, Phil, about that second-degree murder conviction they laid on your skinny butt, but when you shoot someone, stuff like that happens). “Bye Bye Banana” is rich in ‘70’s talent, and the song, “Be My Baby,” a remake of the Ronettes  hit, is probably the most interesting number historically. Back in the ‘60’s, the Moonrakers, the Beach Boys, et al, recorded this at Tower Records.  Brian Wilson had a hand in the production, and brother Carl added his talent on the 12-string Rickenbacker.  That’s Denny on keyboard. When Tower Records closed its doors suddenly, the master was lost – for almost 50 years. An acetate disc turned up at a Los Angeles swap meet, was listed for sale on E-Bay, and recovered at last for $139.00.  After restoration and re-mastering, Denny had a unique and significant piece of music to include .

How did we get so lucky?  Living here with us is a master musician, lyricist, keyboard player and uber-interesting guy. You can pick up a copy of “Don’t Need No Reason To Party” in San Felipe at Tavo’s pharmacy, the Net (just ask for Kat), Chuey’s Photographia Alvarez on the Chetumal, Arturo’s lumberyard or any Thursday night at Name That Tune at Playa de Oro.  Mail orders can be sent to FLANNIGAN PARTY CD,  P.O Box 9011 #393, Caliexico, CA 92232, for $15.00 plus $3.50 P&H. Better yet, go the website www.Dennyflannigan.com.

Hail, hail, rock ‘n roll!