Tuesday, 01 November 2011
By Jim Lundstrom
People certainly do change. So do bands. Copper Box, led by the husband-wife multi-instrumental musical team of Danny and Michelle Jerabek, has evolved into a fascinatingly diverse and musically mature band, as evidenced by their new release People Change.
The CD kicks off with three Danny-penned songs, the second of which, “Racing,” gives Michelle a chance to play chanteuse with a great pop vocal. Track 3, “Adios Baby,” features a spine-tingling organ that seems to seep in through the cracks, a big blast of bari sax from Michelle, a nice, bright trumpet solo by Danny, and a brilliant, heavy horn section carrying the tune out to its organic, orgiastic conclusion. I think more than anything this track shows a musical depth that puts this band on par with anyone making music anywhere.
I swear my scalp tingled the first time I heard their sweet intro to “Soulful Strut,” with Danny playing brilliant button accordion in place of the horn section and piano used as lead instruments in the 1968 original by Young-Holt Unlimited. That instrumental release was actually recorded earlier that year as “Am I the Same Girl,” with vocal by Barbara Acklin, who was married to the song’s writer, Eugene Record. For some reason, Acklin’s voice was removed and replaced with piano performed by Floyd Morris. Copper Box reunites the instrumental hit with the vocal version. Michelle adds the right melancholic touch.
They follow that with a smoking version of Cesar Rosas’ “Corrido #1” from Los Lobos groundbreaking 1984 release How Will the Wolf Survive?
My favorite moment on the record comes on track 7, when Danny takes a trumpet solo on the chestnut “Tennessee Waltz.” His trumpet speaks in big, bold, round, brassy tones, really baring the soul of the song.
I think I can honestly say this is the best recording and best sounding recording Copper Box has made. Danny served as producer.
Copper Box recorded at the northern Wisconsin Alchematic Productions run by Mark Richardson, whose impressive recording credits include stints at Electric Lady and Atlantic Records in New York. Whatever combination of elements it was, something magical happened here.