‘Modus Operandi’ …
The mission or a song? Both for The Ben Racine Band on their debut album; One of a Kind.
‘Modus Operandi’ is the third track on an album which has just been released through Iguane Records in Montreal. As with every other track on the disc – the standout is Racine’s voice. Not seeing who you are listening to may come as a surprise if Racine arrives for dinner one day …
On disc, he is a man of African descent standing on stage at the Apollo theatre in the fifties. He is a forefather of the blues vocally. A cutting edge player along the lines of Dixon, Wolf and Waters. Racine delivers.
In person, Racine is a young version of Sinatra in attire and has enough of a backbone to carry the history of the blues on his back.
The song ; ‘Walking the Dog’ – a tune covered and coveted by any individual or group wanting to be part of a blues festival – is done so well by Racine and his men; its a wonder the crossroads are not their home adresses.
The title track features the band backing up Racine’s vocals and guitar riffs with a more than operable slant towards the heyday of Motown. ‘One of a Kind’ is the name of the album and a good description of Racine and what he does.
‘Early Times’ is a sax vehicle, ‘Moose’ Mousseau and Little Frankie Thiffault trade reeds with the best of the best. The song is so feel good – a devasting crime against a family member, the only thing to get a listener down.
‘Shake a Hand’ and ‘Bad L’iL Lady’ are throwback ballads a la Colin James. Nicky Estor keeps time with a high hat and crisp snare as Racine delivers riffs and vocals with conviction. Nothing new on these songs in the annals of blues history yet worth the effort to take in the professionalism provided.
The test of the disc is to be available to stand against the sounds of The Brian Setzer Orchestra or Colin James Big Band. In fact a combination of the Stray Cats and James is a great example of the sound Ben Racine portrays to the audience.
Mission accomplished for these students of the game especially on the tune ‘Hot Grease’. The best interchange of beats, momentum and Kevin Mark’s deeply embedded bass lines. The best of the artillery packed in this young band’s arsenal.
A concert with these guys is a concert filled with sore feet and sweaty heads.
Get your dancin’ shoes on …