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Patrick Cooper - Gris Gris in Your Face

~ CD Review ~

Oct 31, 2013
Kimmy Sophia Brown

The first thing Iwanted to know when I got this CD is what does Gris Gris mean? I thought it might be something to eat, but no! The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells me that it is “an amulet or incantation used chiefly by people of black African ancestry”, something to do with voodoo. Mr. Cooper hails from New Orleans so it must be something that folks know about down there. I found out from the song, “Happy Boy Blues,” in the line:

I’m coming back toLouisiana to put the devil in his place.
With the help of Cajunoutlaws I’ll throw the gris gris in his face.

This song also has awonderful caterwauling mouth harp and great blues lines like

I got myself a womanwho treats me nice.

and

Papa is a hillbilly, mama is a cajunqueen.

He has a HarryChapin/Harry Nilsson-esque voice -- kind of gritty and bluesy. He plays his tunes with an earnest energy – story songs about life in the city, burning the candles at both ends, hard times, love songs, and people who need to improve their character.

“Holly Beach” tellsthe story of the hardship endured by people struck by Hurricane Katrina and then by Hurricane Rita a couple of years later. The line “There’s just sand where a town used to be,” sums it up.

“Courtesy of Valerie”is a catchy, bouncy little love song. It reminds me of something that The Rascals might have written.

“No Time to Cry,”would have made Hank Williams proud. I want to hear a yodel in this one, I want to hear him yodel the word, ‘blue’. It’s a great little country tune with these lines:

I could discovermore ways to give my body abuse...do whatever it takes to let my demons loose...

“Don’t Make Me Putit All in a Song,” has a Jimmy Buffett feel to it.

“The Boy Laughs TooMuch,” has a searing dobro and seems to have been written about a smirking juvenile who can’t take life seriously. It has the ironic message many disappointed adults foist upon the young:

One day he’lllearn that the world is not a funny place.
One day he’ll feelhot tears running down his face.
Then he’ll be justlike us!
Then he’ll be just like us.

The more I listen toPatrick, the more I like him. This is a guy who has been playing music all his life and putting his heart in it. Check out his website at patrickcoopermusic.com. Buy a bunch of CDs and attend hisconcerts. He deserves it!

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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