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VOLKER STRIFLER & THE BLUE ZONE

Full Moon CD

May 4, 2004

By Rolf Olmsted

Somebody Help Me ("Hanging Tough")

"Smack dab in the middle of nowhere,
Feels like that's where I'm at.
The baby's crying and the rent is due
The landlord's breathing down my neck.

Sometimes it's rough
I've got a hound dog running after me
I'm hanging tough
Somebody help me cause I can't see.

You love your woman and you love her well
But you know there?s only one hitch,
Every now and then you want someone else
To scratch that seven year itch.

Sometimes it's rough
I've got a hound dog running after me
I'm hanging tough
Somebody help me cause I can't see."

People pushing, shoving me around
And the tax man?s a mangy thing
Pencil pushing geeks like slimy little maggots
Eat their way from my wallet to my brain.

Sometimes it's rough
I've got a hound dog running after me
I'm hanging tough
Somebody help me cause I can't see."

(Volker Strifler)

Some of my blues friends laugh at me since I have the names of a lot of Volker Strifler?s songs wrong.  That?s ?cause I learned them on the dance floors of Sonoma County.  My view of Volker?s music is totally colored because I became one of his fanatics well before I was able to get his CDs.  I hear Volker in my head as he is today with his Sonoma County band.

Songwriter, arranger, singer, and extraordinary guitarist, Volker drives people nuts when he solos.  Musicians marvel at his musical talent and knowledge.  The members of his band go nuts when he?s really playing well.  The other top guitarists all look forward to playing with him.  Volker is a special talent.

Volker?s CDs can be hard to get.  I bought mine in the used bins at The Last Record Store long after I became a fan.  Volker has two CDs out. Full Moon by Volker Strifler and the Blue Zone (Brown Dog Records, 1996).  The second The Volker Strifler Band (Blue Rock?it Records, 2002).  Both albums feature his German band Claus Bubik on bass and Stefan Bollack on drums.

Full Moon has a different earlier sound for Volker, it?s a touch more ?pop.?  It was made before Volker moved to the US and it doesn?t have as much of the roadhouse feel that Volker is now so well known for, but Volker?s unique jazz-blues chops are already in evidence.  Of the ten tracks on the CD, six are still in his shows, with another two songs performed once in a while.  It has a remarkably high number of good songs for a first CD.

The first track starts right out with one of his fun songs "Cadillac."  Gonna get me a Cadillac and drive it far, yes indeed.  These days Volker gives it an even more roadhouse shuffle feel.

The second song is one of Volker?s greatest "Somebody Help Me" (see above).  This one gets everybody up and dancing.  Singing them survival blues, the guitar howling and barking, the horn section swaying back and forth.  This one just plain has it.  The CD version is almost as powerful as how he does it now.

"Into Your Love" is a strange and wonderful pounding medium tempo with the feel of part ecstasy, part Nordic doom.  "I got to find a way into your love."

"Like It Or Not" remains in almost every Volker show---and it should.  It?s one of Volker?s best.  And it has bop soloing and the very start of Volker?s Texas feel (nowadays much more powerful) and drive.  ?V? cranks that guitar as the horn section gives a long line backdrop.  "I had my share of being blue, lord knows, lord knows, I?m falling out of love with you."  And it?s really the blues with the solo--late night in the club and the pain of love.  "Worry, worry, worry, darlin?."

...Rolf Olmsted

Rolf Olmsted was born on the banks of the Mississippi River and had a dog and played his father's mandolin. He was exposed to the blues at an early age which accounts for it. Among his accomplishments are reproduction, a collection of cheap guitars, and computer semi-literacy. He's guilty of attempted guitar and mandolin playing.