Third Chuck E. Weiss Album Due
The long, slowly budding career of Chuck E. Weiss continues Jan. 22 with the release of his third album, "Old Souls & Wolf Tickets" (Rykodisc). The album is the follow-up to 1999's Tom Waits-produThe long, slowly budding career of Chuck E. Weiss continues Jan. 22 with the release of his third album, "Old Souls & Wolf Tickets" (Rykodisc). The album is the follow-up to 1999's Tom Waits-produced "Extremely Cool" (Slow River/Rykodisc), which was Weiss' first album since his debut, "The Other Side of Town" (Select), which was released in 1981.
The 14-song set -- which label president George Howard calls in a letter to journalists "the most important record Rykodisc will release this year" -- was produced by Weiss, along with Tony Gilkyson and John Heron, and is steeped in the offbeat growler tradition of longtime friend and compatriot Waits. While the comparison is inevitable, Weiss stakes his own eccentric claim on such blues-soaked songs as "Tony Did the Boogie Woogie," and "Jolie's Nightmare (Mr. House Dick)."
Set amidst newly recorded tracks is a cover of Don Raye's "Down the Road Apiece," recorded in 1970 with Willie Dixon. The pair are backed by the Chicago All Stars, which included such crack musicians as pianist Sunnyland Slim, guitarist Buster Benton, drummer Clifford James, and blues harpist Carey Bell. Additionally, a video-enhanced track featuring Weiss backed by his longtime band the G-d Damn Liars performing "Cub Scout Suit" at Los Angeles' Viper Room in 1997 is also included.
Weiss followed his debut album release with an 11-year weekly gig at the Viper Room in its earlier incarnation as the Central nightclub. He kicked off his career in the late 1960s as drummer in bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins' touring band, and later worked with such well-known entertainers as Roger Miller and Dr. John.
He was immortalized in Rickie Lee Jones' 1979 single "Chuck E.'s in Love," written while he, Waits, and Jones ruled the roost at L.A.'s Tropicana Hotel, the center of the city's alternative singer/songwriter scene. Included on Jones' self-titled 1979 Warner Bros. debut, the track peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard Hot 100.