Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., April 12, 2002
Michael Hall & the WoodpeckersLucky Too (Aznut) Lucky Too is Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers' second effort. Where the first disc, 2000's Dead by Dinner, was mostly a collection of Hall's songs, this is a distinctly band effort. What that means is that not only are songwriting credits spread among guitarist Randy Franklin, keyboard player John Ratliff, drummer Steve McCarthy, and bassist Brian Zoric, they sing their songs as well. Even then, the ex-Wild Seeds frontman's tunes stand out among Lucky Too's 12 tracks for their intriguing, literary qualities. Hall worked with Zoric on what may be the anthem of 2002, "Sometimes I Wish I Never Heard the Rolling Stones," a guitar-fueled slab of rock that perfectly captures "the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" circa Sticky Fingers. That's followed by the speeding "Four in the Morning," a late night ride down a pitch-black highway on which you can almost hear the broken white lines clipping by. Lucky Too has its share of such sublime moments, but ofttimes when the Woodpeckers stand out front, things can go horribly wrong -- Zoric's Prince-like falsetto and the fake funk of "Testify," for instance, which may or may not be a joke. Franklin's "Wild and True" and Ratliff's "Sunday Night" are standard roots rock contributions, but none stand up to Hall's material, which proves once again that he has the ability to write one gem after another.