ALBUM REVIEW: In the Pocket dives into Philly music scene

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First Posted: 5/20/2013

Philadelphia’s music scene has accounted for some of the most influential and memorable moments in the entire popular music vernacular. Philly is where rock ‘n’ roll took its baby steps with American Bandstand in the 1950s, felt the smooth soul power of Gambale and Huff’s “The Sound of Philadelphia” in the 1970s, and rocked the MTV-soaked 1980s with The Hooters – just a smattering of Philly’s contributions to the national spotlight. Drummer David Uosikkinen of The Hooters has assembled some of that city’s best musicians for his “In the Pocket” project, a living, breathing celebration of Philly’s esteemed musical past.

Recorded at Phoenixville, Penn.’s Colonial Theatre, the album captures the remarkably current vibe that ripples through these classic songs. Joining Uosikkinen are fellow Hooters bandmates like Eric Bazilian, who takes lead with his own volatile, intensive stab at “One of Us,” the hit Bazilian penned for Joan Osborne in 1995.

Singer/songwriter Ben Arnold sings lead on “Change Reaction,” a piece of New Wave-era ear candy from Philly’s answer to The Cars – Robert Hazard and The Heroes. Graham Alexander, known for his Paul McCartney role in he Beatles stage show “1964 – The Tribute,” absolutely commands Philly soul-collective The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno” with pure bass-bouncing delirium.

Guitar slinger Tommy Conwell turns in a rousing vocal, not to mention a slithering, Gretsch-toned, rockabilly twangfest on The Dovell’s early 1960s hit “You Can’t Sit Down,” a prime example of the brash, yet lovingly jubilant hand with which this material is dealt. Uosikkinen has said, “For ‘In the Pocket’ to be successful, it has to have a feeling of community among the musicians.” With the flawless, natural sense of musical awareness each player lovingly tosses Uosikkinen’s way, it’s clear he’s got nothing to worry about.

David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket ‘In the Pocket Live’ Rating: W W W W