ALBUM REVIEW: You See Old…I See History by W.B. And The Geezers

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W.B. And The Geezers are a Country/Americana group hailing from
Navarre in Florida with an interesting backstory. The W.B. In the
group’s name refer to Will Lake and Bill Crouch, two musicians who
together form a songwriting alliance and together write the group’s music.
Now both in their sixties, Bill started out as a sound engineer
working with the likes of Ike and Tina Turner and Bob Hope before
getting married and taking a more regular job.

He returned to music when he became a Private Yacht Captain,
performing his own songs to passengers, influenced by Kenny
Chesney and Jimmy Buffett. This album, You See Old…I See
History, consists of twelve songs in the country style with subject
matter that ranges from the serious and tragic, to the light-hearted
and humorous.

First track, Weekend Angel, is a fine start to the album. It’s an
upbeat country song that features some nifty slide and lead guitar
during the introduction. Will Lake has a strong, easy-on-the-ear
voice and gives a good performance, with some lovely female
backing vocals entering on certain lines. The lyrics are a touching
tale of a hard-working man who is able to endure an arduous job
thanks to having a loving wife waiting at home for him. There is
a nice contrast between the downbeat lyrics of the verses and the
touching words of the chorus.

The title track comes next, a song that celebrates the
unappreciated older generation, with the lyrics portraying several
mature people who’ve had an interesting past and the ignorance
of those who give them no respect: “You won’t see his name in
the history book, just one of many doing what it took…Cogs in the
wheel of your American dream, living day by day…”. The powerful
words are set to a solid country backing, with fiddle and slide guitar
weaving in and out.

Delta Gamma Sigma (D-G-S) is another socially aware song,
deriding politicians for not affecting change and using public money
for their own recreation: “Cell phone giveaways, foreign aid thrown
away…while politicians cry and party on the side….”. These dryly
humorous, satirical lyrics are set to a suitably feisty country-rock
arrangement.

Fourth track Children of the Streets is a poignant tale of children
who’ve faced such hardship at home that they’ve run away to live
on the streets: “Standing there in plain sight, never to be seen…as
we close our eyes to children of the streets…”. The female
character depicted turns to prostitution and drugs, but this bleak
picture is given a hopeful ending. A moving country ballad.

This is contrasted perfectly by the light-hearted Round Bottom
Girls, which is an ode to ladies with a rubenesque figure and has a
loose mid-paced country-blues feel. The lyrics are guaranteed to
make you smile: “I don’t want no supermodel, too skinny for me, I
want a woman with a six-pack…that I can drink“. There’s a great
crowd singalong feel on the catchy chorus, and I can imagine it’s
hugely popular when played live. There’s also some nice lead guitar
work from Raymond Foote on this one.

The following song Ocean Blue is another big contrast, a beautiful
acoustic ballad with Bill Crouch on lead vocals. Starting with a flourish of
lead acoustic guitar, it develops into a very well written song,
aided by soothing, mellifluous flute that drifts over the vocals. The
whole song manages to capture a dreamy, romantic atmosphere
and is an another album highlight.

The Earth Still Spins carries on the eclecticism, a funky bluesy track
that adds some saxophone to the ever-growing range musical
instruments incorporated into their sound. It turns up again
towards the end on eighth track Shout To The World, which is
an up tempo and uplifting song about wanting to express yourself
and communicate with people.

I Got The Nut is a blues-rock song featuring another lead vocal
from Bill Crouch, whose lighter tone makes a good contrast with Will
Lake’s deeper voice. Lyrically, it’s about having the best hand at a
poker game in a casino and is another of their light-hearted,
entertaining songs that nicely counterbalance the more serious
tracks. Again, the guitarist should get credit for some superb
smoky licks.

That’s Why It’s Called Pain takes us back into emotional territory,
this one about romantic heartbreak as the title suggests. The lyrics
are quite visceral and dark: “There ain’t no bottle and there ain’t no
pill, there ain’t no needle that can ever kill the pain you feel
inside….”. It’s a surprisingly affecting and poignant song set to an
appropriately understated musical backing, all the more
unexpected due to the levity of the preceding songs.

Diamonds and Coal is more upbeat and light-hearted, as well as
the most traditional country song on the album. Lyrically, it’s about
being grateful for a loving wife when the life of a touring musician
doesn’t make for an ideal husband. The album finishes with Us,
another song sung by Bill Crouch, and it’s a lovely romantic way to
end the album. The structure is slightly unusual with some unexpected chord
changes and quirky shifts in time signature, but these work well. It
is augmented by flute, as with Ocean Blue.

Overall, this is a very fine album by two talented songwriters and
musicians, backed up by a fine supporting cast. The differing voices
and songwriting styles create a nice contrast, but there’s also an
impressively broad emotional range in the songs that reflect the
ups and downs of life.  W.B and The Geezers prove that age is but
a number and a lifetime of varied experiences makes for great
songwriting.

 

Alex Faulkner

Verdict: 8.8 out of 10

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