Chuck E. Weiss: Extremely Cool (Ryko)

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Chuck E. Weiss: Pygmy Fund
Chuck E. Weiss: Extremely Cool (Ryko)

The leisurely pace at which Mr Weiss releases albums makes the five-year gap between Blue Nile releases look positively hasty. This is his first since his debut 18 years ago.

Made semi-legendary by Rickie Lee Jones’ early hit Chuck E's in Love and for being a Tom Waits protege boho-poet, here (under the production of Waits who co-writes and croaks along) Chuck delivers an unexpectedly fine collection of slurry, Elmore James-styled guitar blues, crazy cajun (Oh Marcy), organ-driven alley cat boogie complete with catarrhal vocals, clanking percussion and some impenetrable lyrics (the hilarious Rygmy Fund), and a terrific chant-down co-written with Waits (the hearty Do You Know What I Idi Amin).

And he goes out with some Jew-blues on Rockin’ in the Kibbitz Room.

It sags a little when it sounds like barfly Waits circa Small Change/Heart of Saturday Night but otherwise it`s a real grower. If Weiss’ present form is any measure, you'll have plenty of time to let this sink in.

By the way, Chuck's excuse for the delay between albums? “I was distracted."

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