This 17-song record shows veteran singer-songwriter Cris Cuddy to be a moralist, eager to offer the world-weary wisdom of an “old man with the blues” to those in thrall to sexual lust (“Time Bomb Baby”), or power and fame (“Nashville Star”), or some twisted combination of the two (“All the Pain (Money Could Buy)”).
Even party tunes like “Drink Up and Be Somebody” and “Let’s Get Drunk” have an undertone of worry, if not judgement. Ably supported by a large cast of luminaries including Dennis Pendrith and Emory Lester (plus a cameo choir of Gorillas from his Max Mouse alter ego), Cuddy’s reverberated baritone vocals conjure up Nashville and Memphis (Sun Records, not Stax or Hi—a comparison he invites in “Jerry Lee and Elvis,” a tribute to the other Tennessee town’s role in mainstreaming rock’n’roll) but they edge close to New York-era Lou Reed in places.
Cris Cuddy’s Time Bomb Baby is available for purchase on CDBaby.
All images courtesy the artist.