Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jan 7th, 2015

Dave Plaehn: Radio Sister

Dave PlaehnDave Plaehn
Radio Sister
(Pilot Records)

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Dave Plaehn begins his new album, Radio Sister, with “Better Things To Do,” a poppy country fwaka-waka tune, heavy on bass and high on fun. In 1997 Dave was endorsed as a harmonica player by Hohner, Inc and his expert playing shows here in this opening tune’s break. When the female vocals come in at the end, we have a complete little commercial ditty.

Quite often here I am reminded of Lyle Lovett, particularly on the sweet, needin’-love song, “Give Me Lovin’,” with its light organ touches and Plaehn’s perfectly placed vocals. “Soda Fountain” chunks along as well, all the while Plaehn is in perfect control. “Leadbelly Medley” pulls up some good blues with hand claps and foot stomps and Plaehn singing in a lower register. The man may be a world class harp player, but he can sing pretty damn well too.

“Love and Truth” is just a beautiful lament of organ bed with Plaehn singing over the top. It’s very sweet with again some expressive bass playing throughout it. The title track presents a big drum/guitar flankin’ tune. It’s got a Fleetwood-like melody to it, with Plaehn’s straight ahead vocal leading and the bass mixed high again. It’s not the strongest tune here, but it works.

“Stranger Blues,” the tune that ends Radio Sister, is simply Plaehn singing and playing harmonica…something I feel he does too little of here for my tastes overall. But it is a great bluesy way to end what is pretty much a tightly-constructed, well-written and played, 11-song album.

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Dave Plaehn: Radio Sister