BY MIKE SHANLEY
One could say that Al Staehely has kept good company over the last 40 years. The bassist and his guitar playing brother (J. Christian Staehely) joined Spirit in 1971, following the departures of that band’s key songwriters Randy California and Jay Ferguson. Feedback, the maligned-but-not-bad follow-up to The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, was predominantly composed by Al. Staehely also worked on Keith Moon’s lone solo album and toured with Nick Gravenites (Electric Flag) and John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service). He never rose beyond the level of a support player, in part possibly because he pursued a more lucrative career as an entertainment lawyer.
Cadillac Cowboys revisits the above periods of his career, with support by the Explosives, who have worked with Roky Ericson. “Crazy Like a Fox” comes from the Moon album and features a strong Who-style delivery, with Staehely providing some solid vocals and heavy bass lines. This EP’s title track appeared on Feedback originally and keeps the hard rock feeling going. “Signs of Life” includes Shawn Sahm (son of “Sir Douglas” Sahm) on keyboards and vocals for a convincing slice of blues rock that must have suited Gravenites perfectly. But new composition “Bailout Blues” sounds like any bar band tossing off jokes about “They bailed out Goldman Sachs/ who’s gonna bail me out.” If the other three tracks are any indication, Staehely can do better. And after all this time, one would think he’d present more than 12 minutes of music.
DOWNLOAD: “Crazy Like a Fox,” “Cadillac Cowboys.”