I have known Mookie Brando (alias Zsigo Feri) for a number of years, ever since I saw him play a solo gig at the Fregatt Pub.
Back in the early 1990’s the Fregatt was the only place you could get Guinness on tap in Budapest. Later, many of the top musicians in Budapest cut their teeth there, like The Tea Thieves, Shameless, Captain Pedantic and the Scurvy Dogs… and of course Mookie Brando. Classified as alt.country (the first time I had ever heard the term), if you type in Mookie Brando on Last.FM, you get a fantastic playlist of similar bands.
Mookie released a self-titled album in 2007 called Eponymous, and his new solo effort, Love, Truth and Other Myths will be available from Oct 3 at www.mookiebrando.net and http://soundcloud.com/mookiebrando.
The album title immediately gets you thinking. The respect shown to Budapest’s grandfather of alt.country is demonstrated by a who’s who of musicians that have contributed to this undertaking. Influences for this album include: Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Lucinda Williams, Blue Rodeo, Tom Petty, Wilco, The Who and Booker T and the MGs.
The lead in on the first track "This Temptation" makes you want to jump out of your seat and start dancing or catch a wave, the rest makes you realise you are up there for the duration on the dance flozor rocking back and forth in the smoky gloom in front of the stage, singing along with beer in hand. It sets an appropriate tone for the rest of the album. "Angel Tonight" is a true country ballad without the kich.
I especially like the word play, "two-step into." On "Best I Can," the influence of the Rolling Stones and later Bob Dylan are clearly evident. While track 7 "Been in Arrears" is an anthem that deftly describes a place many of us are at these days, "Shine a Light" incorporates a really nice long instrumental section and big-ass chorus featuring the Joeville Singers.
The stand-out track " Shakin’ in the Middle of the Night" features Mookie’s very talented cousin Peti on sax, and is that Greg laughing just at the end? The title track, "Love, Truth and Other Myths" is destined to be a hit single, as Mookie relaxes into it and it comes out pure and passionate. I especially love Beaux Jaxon’s resonator guitar solo on this.