The Rolling Stones' classic sets the tone for "Bring Back Red Raspberry."
Dave Jordan's new Bring Back Red Raspberry sounds as if it was written and recorded after a long, woozy weekend spent listening to Exile on Main Street. Like Exile, it's a little indulgent. A handful of songs could have given up a final verse and/or chorus without doing any damage, and levels of collective inspiration come and go. It also runs the gamut of southern roots sounds, most played with rock's edge and a luxurious lack of urgency. The songs take place on their time, paced appropriately by Jordan's scotch and smoke-aided voice and phrasing. It's the voice that Jagger tries to affect on Exile, and Jordan's more expressive with it than many who share it. He has compellingly snotty moments in the opening boogie, "Good One," and there's genuine vulnerability in "She Was Born in April."
Everything comes together on "One Night with You," when the band locks into a hip-shaking groove that could engagingly go on for 10 more minutes, giving Jordan the singer and Joe Krown in his piano solo something solid to rub up against. It helps that it's also the sexiest song on the album, where the story of a woman who wants his attention brightens his delivery. When he add "sure" to the line, "One night with you / sure would be nice," there's a strong whistle of wary admiration for the woman who's trying to lead him astray.
Like Exile on Main Street, vibe counts for a lot, and for three-quarters of the album, Bring Back Red Raspberry feels like an entertaining late night conversation over beer and shots telling tall tales about women and whatnot. By the end, though, I was ready for more whatnot, or fewer stories about the ones that got away. Jordan's not curdled on love or anything so problematic, but like the guy who's gone one beer too far, you know what's coming next.
Many of the songs on Bring Back Red Raspberry beg to be played live, when some of the grooves tighten up in the moment. On CD, Jordan provides an often-compelling preview of the possibilities his songs present.
Dave Jordan plays the Popeyes Esplanade in the Shade Stage with OffBeat Magazine at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at French Quarter Fest, then at The Maple Leaf at 10 p.m. that night.