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CD REVIEW: Brother Lou - As Good As You Want
By Don Sechelski - 06/19/2008 - 09:46 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Brother Lou
Album: As Good As You Want
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: 60's protest music
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
CD Review:

Brother Lou has something to tell you and he wants to be sure you're listening. Brother Lou is Lou Dominguez, a singer songwriter from Hollywood, Florida. In the tradition of folksingers, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Brother Lou has a distinct point of view. His songs are brash, sometimes in your face, and honest. When you've listened to this CD, As Good As You Want, you know exactly where Brother Lou stands.

Brother Lou plays guitar, slide, and harmonica. He's joined on As Good As You Want by producer/percussionist John Jay Martyn and bassist Jack Beasley. Rex Blazer Jr jumps in with fiddle and Teddy Strauss adds some mandolin and guitar. The result is a pleasant, folk/Americana styled musical blend with Brother Lou's driving vocal on top. But Brother Lou's lyrics are the real story. They are direct, political, and sometimes a little angry.

The first song, Nothing In The Sky, is an atheist's sermon. Brother Lou songs,

"There ain't nothing in the sky
Just a cool, calm, neutral blue
Staring me back in the eye
And no one's walking
On the water
Or coming back when they die"

 The third cut, Tonight, echoes of Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land as it opens with

"This land belongs
To giants now
That dwarf the Philistine
That rock you've got is about
As much use as a protest sign"

The song goes on to indict corporate greed and big money for distorting democratic values. He finishes by referencing the assassination of JFK,

"I was born long after
It was still cool to believe
Perhaps I'm even lucky
I'm not stuck with some memory
Of what hope felt like
Before November 1963."

As Good As You Want is not just about protest songs. Elizabeth is a softer song about letting a loved one go. Brother Lou's fingerpicking and the simple string arrangement are a  welcome change of pace. Trampled Heart is an angrier song about love gone wrong. Black and White Kisses is a questioning song that looks back at a past event and wonders. But the loudest voice is Brother Lou's protest voice.

As Good As You Want is not for everybody. Songs like Hey Jesus and As Good As You Want will offend some listeners. But Brother Lou is direct and honest in the  tradition of American folksingers. His songs are sometimes reminiscent of  60's icons Phil Ochs and Dave Van Ronk. With Brother Lou, you always know where you stand. And you definitely know where Brother Lou stands.

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