No-one can accuse New York based singer-songwriter D.B. Rielly of playing things by the book. In his cocksure debut album he shows off his instrumental versatility (accordion, banjo, acoustic guitar, piano and washboard) and offers up a set of ten original musical cures that range from tender ballads to Cajun hoedowns and includes one of the sickest songs I've heard in a good while.
All these come handsomely packed in a metal box with the artist's own warranty: "I personally guarantee that if these here concocted remedies fail to eliminate all the trouble and woe that befall man or beast, I'll eat a bug".
The sick song is one of two on the album played in a Zydeco style - the other being the lively, and inoffensive opening track, One Of These Days (You're Gonna Realize).
I Got A Girlfriend, tells the dark tale of a man so desperate to find, and keep, a girl that he abducts one. To stop her looking at other guys he pokes out her eyes. To stop her doing a runner he does worse; as he the singer all too gleefully confesses : "her heart is in my head, the rest of her is in a hefty bag underneath my bed".
Thankfully this aberration is a one off and the rest of the album doesn't plumb such depths.
The love song Don't Give Up On Me shows that, after all, D.B, has his heart in the right place as do tender piano ballads Love Me Today and the heartbreakingly beautiful breakup song Save All Your Kisses.
There are also fine traditional lonesome blues numbers in One Day At A Time and Changed My Mind while Got A Mind is a charged up song vowing vengeance against a rapist and an over lenient legal system ("I know it's a sin but I don't care - I'll see him burn in Hell").
The honesty of pre-war folk-blues is his main inspiration but the 'bang a gong' rhythm of Loving You Again shows that he also digs T.Rex.
The rabble rousing We're All Going Straight To Hell is also also a world apart from the old-timey tunes as he cocks a snoop at hypocritical preachers who rail against the 'sins' of Rock'n'Roll in general and New Yorkers in particular.
It would be unfortunate if this album gets attention for the jet black 'humour' of I Got A Girlfriend as this not properly representative of this outstanding record.
I can vouch for the fact that the other nine tunes provide sufficient proof that D.B. is no quack and doesn't need to dine out on any bugs just yet.