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West Side Winders

Snaken Not Stirred – 2006 (95 North)

Reviewed by Don Armstrong

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CDs by West Side Winders

How can you take seriously a man who sings ("Keep It in the Family") about expanding his love circle to include not only girlfriend, but her exhibitionist mama, flirtatious little sister and halter-and-thong-worthy (presumably) grandma? But lead singer/guitarist/song writer Dan Peters is serious - about his musical ambitions, anyway.

Interspersing a couple of Elvis hits ("Little Sister," "That's All Right") with an impressive batch of originals, the West Side Winders (formerly the Sidewinders) make clear their reverence for tradition with a sound rich in rockabilly, surf and good ol' rock and roll. But Peters and company are intent on carving out their own identity. A tight, heavily percussive sound that also features Greg Marsh on drums and Derek Brand on bass is abetted by Peters' clever lyrics and lively guitar, which occasionally veers toward Hendrix. A dark edge shows through on "Your Love Is Evil" and a mellow sides sneaks in on a third cover tune, "My Baby."

But it's all about fun on this confident disc by the Chicago natives. The originality clusters in the execution, but this is an homage, not a chestnut.