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There’s a good reason Steve Franco adopted the stage name “Mr. Boogieman” – because whenever he sits down at the ivories, no matter the tune or the tempo he’s playing, he always proves that he can stone-cold boogie!

What do we mean by “boogie”? In the rock’n’roll era, we’re talking about the high-stepping, rhythm-pounding riffs of Johnnie Johnson, the keyboard man behind the inimitable Chuck Berry (and so it makes perfect sense that Mr. Boogieman closes this program of 15 smokin’ hot selections with a lickety-split version of the Chuck Berry classic, “Johnny B. Goode”).

But Steve Franco also demonstrates he can apply the Mr. Boogieman method to a wide range of music, from the swinging “Route 66” to a classic Beatles medley, from Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” to Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

The first half of this recording features The Boogieman all by himself, rampaging over an electronic keyboard instrument with a resonant, gently chiming tone. Along the way, he tears through “Watermelon Man,” gently caresses another jazz standard, “How High the Moon,” and brings it all back home in funky fashion with his own “Moslo Blues.”

On “New Orleans Boogie,” a transitional cut, he duets with Crescent City keyboard whiz Davell Crawford -- grandson of James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, the 1950s R&B artist who was the first to record the well-known “Iko Iko” as “Jockomo.”

The final four tracks showcase The Boogieman on vocals and keyboard backed by bass and drums on tunes that include Cannonball Adderley’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and his own “Slomo Blues.”

Throughout, Mr. Boogieman demonstrates the range of boogiewoogie piano and asserts the kind of creative inspiration that makes you want to boogie all night long.

 

   

 

 

ROUTE 66

NIGHT TRAIN

WATERMELON MAN

BEATLES MELODY

ANATOLE

TAKE THE A TRAIN

STRAIT EIGHTS

TEQUILLA

AUTUMN LEAVES

TWO MINUTE BOOGIE

HOW HIGH THE MOON

MOSLO BLUES

NEW ORLEANS BOOGIE

ALL ALONG THE WATCH TOWER

MERCY, MERCY, MERCY

SLOMO BLUES

JOHNNY B. GOODE

 

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