Within the narrow confines of 1960s R&B, Paul Cebar throws a lot at the wall. And most of his shtick sticks.
"Fine Rude Thing" lives up to its title from the pickup to the first measure, with Cebar screaming something unintelligible before the baritone sax joins in. The tune quickly settles into a satisfying groove, and that's where Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound remains for the rest of the 11-song set, ramshackle yet super-tight.
Most of the tunes recall hitmakers of the distant past—Dion on "Baby Shake," Al Green on "You Owe It to You," Sly Stone on "Might Be Smiling" and the Shangri-Las on "Not Necessarily True." There's some ska, a taste of the Caribbean and the closing "Like Loving People Do," which sounds like a New Orleans traffic jam.
Almost everything swings, including "Shack & Shambles," which manages to overcome Cebar's worst singing. His two-pack-a-day vocals are sometimes an asset, however, and he can make a roadhouse seem like home.
"Hope you make it through another struggling day," he sings. This album helps.
Follow Steven Wine at twitter.com/Steve—Wine