"Can I change my mind?"
Sure, Bill, but why would you want to when things are going so swimmingly?
"Can I Change My Mind" puts Billy Price in our collective mind with a selection that finds him both rhythmic and blue(s), all on one disc. We would be disappointed if that wasn't the case.
Price and his tag-alongs (sorry) will play a CD-release party Jan. 21 at 8:30 at Graffiti.
Don't let that attempted joke suggest to you that the Price band is a gathering of just anybodies; they're a talented bunch, including H.B. Bennett, Lenny Smith, Willy Franklin, John Burgh, Fred Delu, Ralph Guzzi, Eric DeFade, Curtis Johnson, and Peter Leary.
Most valuable player this time around, however, seems to have been producer/arranger Jerry Williams, otherwise known as Swamp Dogg. Of the album's 10 tracks, eight are from his pen (or laptop or whatever composers use nowadays).
Williams has an affinity for making good hooks out of his titles, or vice versa, even long labels like "What Is Love (What Makes You Think You Deserve Some?)," which, with its lush romanticism, is one of the favorite tracks.
"Mind" starts out running with "Crack Crack (When Are You Coming Back?)," which hints at a children's rhyming game, but it's a little more adult than that. Check out the instrumental moments that suggest a carillon.
Also enjoyed was "This Magic Hour," a testifying ballad that's connected lyrically to "Mine All Mine All Mine," a happy blues (not an oxymoron) buoyed by good sax and background vocals. Ranked up there, too, is the pop station-friendly "Indefinitely."
"I Know It's Your Party (I Just Came Here to Dance)" is not an answer to that old Lesley Gore hit. Some of its lyrics feel forced, but the refrain is OK. "No Matter How You Turn or Twist It" is about taking the blame for an ended relationship (another good title hook). Rounding out the list of Dogg tracks is "Pass the Sugar," a humorous take on spicing up a relationship. Next time you ask for sweetener, be prepared.
The two non-Swampy entries are the title track, where the subject wants to be talked out of a dumb move, and "One In a Million," which nicely segues out of "Can I Change My Mind," during which the singer admits what he's really thinking.
It seems Price has been part of the Pittsburgh scene forever. It's only been 23 years, when he surfaced as Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band (four albums). He first had drawn attention as vocalist for the late guitarist Roy Buchanan on a couple of albums. The first troupe lasted till 1990, when the singer's sidemen morphed into the Billy Price Band (two earlier CDs).
What will the music of the new century be, when all is sung and done? Who knows, but undoubtedly it will be tinted at least a little bit blue(s).