by Rick Moore
Music veteran Maurice Tani is one of the Bay Area’s leading alt-country guys, and has ambitiously released two CDs at the same time, one of him with the band 77 El Deora and one with 77 El Deora’s bassist Mike Anderson in a (mostly) duo setting. On Blue Line, the 77 El Deora album, Tani and crew, including excellent vocalist Jenn Courtney, tackle the work of everyone from Chuck Berry (“Nadine”) to Hank Williams (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”) to Burt Bacharach and Hal David (!) (“Walk On By,” with cool pedal steel), in addition to the writing of Tani himself. Maybe not always exactly what one would expect from one of San Francisco’s leading exponents of country music, but there it is, and it works. 77 El Deora, by the way, is named for a custom, after-market variant of the Cadillac Eldorado in the ’70s.
On Two Stroke, Tani and Anderson perform 13 acoustic numbers with the occasional guest fiddle or steel, a set of songs mostly written by Tani that also includes a cover of the Beatles’ “I Need You,” written by George Harrison for the Help! album. On both recordings, Tani shows himself to be far more than just another of the one-dimensional singer-songwriter types who are out there today. He’s got taste and energy and clearly knows that, as long as he continues to loves what he does, he’ll find an audience that will too. Both discs are recommended for a listen, if for no other reason than to see if his eclectic tastes aren’t a little more exciting than the average bear’s.
For more, visit www.77eldeora.com
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