in conversation with Levon Helm
|"There are so many people that you'd like to do projects
with... then you have guys like this -Jeff Sarli- crawling out of the woodwork
that you'd like to play with too... and there's so little time."
||Bass Desires by Charles Cohen
"Sarli's life has interwoven with that of classic rock's biggest
dynasty, culminating in his appearance on three tracks on The Rolling
Stones' new album, Bridges to Babylon. Sarli
specializes in blues, rockabilly, jump, and swing - the styles of music
that inspired '60's bands such as the Stones. Sarli sits in with
bands like the Monuments... Big Joe and the Dynaflows, the Uptown Rhythm
Kings, Billy Hancock and the Tennessee Rockets, the Bob Margolin Blues
Band, and John Mooney, a white Mississippi Delta musician who learned from
"The other thing is that I went back to using upright bass, even on
the rockers. Got this guy from Baltimore, Jeff Sarli, plays
like Willie Dixon. I didn't want that same electric bass
texture. I wanted a little more roll to it, 'cos we've got enough
rock. Whatever did happen to the roll? Actually it probably
lives in the upright bass."
"One idea I had was to use an upright bassist -Jeff Sarli- on three
tracks: Flip the Switch, Too Tight, and on How Can I Stop. I wanted
to get away from the dum, dum dum dum electric bass. I figured,
'Let's try to get some swing'."
"Actually, 'Rip this Joint' was the fastest track the Stones ever cut
- until 'Flip the Switch'... There's something about that speed when you
cut it in half and the acoustic bass plays that tempo. I just love
the air that you get. There's a power that you can get from an
upright bass if you record it right. It just has a different feel
than electric bass. There's a wider, fatter bounce to it. It
puts the roll back into the rock. I want the roll. Fuck the
rock. I've had enough of it."
Blues Revue: Harp, Steel and Guts
reviewed by Robert Fontenot
...what was not broken has not been fixed. Harp, Steel and Guts is the second round of acoustic
boilermakers you were ordering, with guitarist/vocalist Ben Andrews, harp wailer Mark Wenner
(The Nighthawks) and bassist Jeff Sarli (Big Joe & The Dynaflows) serving up the same mixture of
jazzy, dark-around-the-edges folk-blues choogle as last time.
It's all shockingly authentic, despite the reverence. These white boys ain't interested in
framing roots traditions, or updating them, or even re-creating them. They simply want to live
them again, to breathe life into the common clay of ancient blues and make it walk and talk. That
they do with the necromancy of wizards.
The Absolute Sound: Harp, Steel and Guts
reviewed by Neil Gader
This recording pushes the limits of technology. Occasionally it sounds as if a mike has
approached its dynamic bumper stops, but Sprey dopes not use limiters, EG, or compressors. The
purity of recording makes it all worth it. This is as close to live as I've ever heard a recorded
trio get. The recording balances intelligibility of the instrument mix with the soundspace of the
Mapleshade studio. The sound is up-front but three-dimensional. On a couple of tunes, I thought the
vocal mike sounded a bit dry and bright, but never disturbingly so. I dare you not to fall in love
with the sheer joy of this uniquely American music and this firecracker performance.