Paula and the Pontiacs’ latest release, Seventeen, culls tracks from three prior releases dating back to 1994’s Cadillac Love, 30 by 90 (1997), and Louisiana Bride (2008). If you are not familiar with Paula and the Pontiacs, this is a great place to start. Paula Rangell, who not only handles the vocals, but also plays harmonica and alto sax, is accompanied by an A-list group of New Orleans musicians. Any album that features Johnny Vidacovich, Jeffrey “Jelly Bean” Alexander, John Mooney, Cranston Clements, Earl King, Tom Worrell, Marc Adams, Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs and Jerry Jumonville warrants at least a cursory listen.
But do yourself a favor and give this one some time to grow on you—you won’t be disappointed. While the supporting cast is top-notch, this album is really about that barroom groove that Paula and the Pontiacs developed with years of playing their brand of roadhouse blues in places like Benny’s and Ruby’s Roadhouse. Whether you’re into Texas roadhouse blues (“Harmonica Girl”), classic smoky barroom blues grooves (“Everything I Need”), the infectious second line that propels a slinky blues groove (“Cadillac Love”), or just down home funky fun (“Where Care Forgot”) you’ll find it on Seventeen.