Review: Tummy Talk - Mr. Richard

TummyTalk.jpgdyspeptic, adj., or, causing, or having dyspepsia (impaired digestion; indigestion).

How you respond to Tummy Talk, the 2nd album from Florida-based musician Mr. Richard (originally released in 2005 and recently re-released on New Orleans' 219 Records) might depend on your reaction to that word.

The good? "Dyspeptic" is a complex word to use in a kids' song, and broadening kids' vocabulary is, we can all agree, a Good Thing.

The bad? Well, Mr. Richard (Richard Peeples) does stretch things lyrically in order to fit the word in (appropriately) on the title track.

Throughout this CD, produced by the Squirrel Nut Zippers' Jimbo Mathus along with Will Dawson, Mr. Richard doesn't dumb down his vocabulary or his music. The title track is a funky rocker, "Stinkeroo!" has a very Southern rock-vibe (minus the two drummers, sadly), and "Cry Baby" is a nice bluesy number. I also enjoyed the echoey voice and finger-snaps of "Buddy the Back-Alley Cat." Musically, the lo-fi production serves the songs well -- there are some very appealing melodies here played by a real band with the occasional banjo and accordion thrown in for good measure.

Lyrically, well, the CD didn't appeal to me as much, in part because it seemed some of the square rhymes were forced into the round hole of meter. And in some cases, the parental frustration of some of the tracks ("Milking It," "The 'Please-Don't-Tell-Me-You're-Gonna-Wear-That-Super-Hero-Costume-Again' Blues") struck me like it would go over way over the head of the younger listeners. It seemed like those songs (which were amusing to me as a parent) were from a completely different album than that the one that included "Buddy the Back-Alley Cat."

Kids ages 4 through 7 are most likely to enjoy the songs here, for which you can hear samples at the album's CDBaby page.

While some listeners will probably find not much new in Tummy Talk, others will certainly find the album a collection of fun, bluesy homemade rockers. At the very least, you won't find yourself dyspeptic listening to it.