SONNY RHODES and the Texas Twisters play electric blues with an old- fashion swagger. Vocalist Frankie Lee, on the other hand, takes a more modern and soul-oriented approach to the music.
Listening to their latest albums, you can't help but think the pair will make an intriguing combination on stage.
Except for some swing licks, there's nothing very polished about the Twisters' album "Just Blues." Rhodes sings in a raw and obviously road-tested voice, backing up his words with terse and often fuzzy-toned guitar solos and a funky horn and rhythm section. Because he occasionally plays lap steel guitar, the standards on the album possess an unusual, sometimes eerie flavor -- a sharp but effective contrast to the buoyancy of jump tunes like "East Oakland Stomp." Best of all, though, is the cautionary tale "Cigarette Blues."
Lee's sound is much more cool and sophisticated on "The Ladies and the Babies." No blues shouter, he's more attuned to Memphis soul music than Rhodes' brand of basic blues. Working with a couple of Robert Cray's cronies (and ex-James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley), Lee delivers several convincing performances, particularly the smoldering Cray-like ballad "The Woman Don't Live Here No More" and the infectious "Lu Ann."
SONNY RHODES & THE TEXAS TWISTERS -- "Just Blues" (Rhodesway 1985).
FRANKIE LEE -- "The Ladies and the Babies" (Hightone 8004). Both appearing Saturday at the Twist and Shout Club at the Bethesda American Legion.