Most helpful positive review
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Great debut album by Puss N Boots.
on July 20, 2014
"No Fools, No Fun” is the debut album by alt-country band Puss N Boots, consisting of jazz-pop singer Norah Jones, jazz singer Sasha Dobson and alt-rock singer Catherine Popper. It’s a mix of country, pop, folk and rock and consist in the regular edition of twelve tracks: five original and seven covers, of which three were recorded live at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY on June 27, 2013. The album's title “No Fools, No Fun” is taken from a Johnny Cash song called "Bull Rider", which is also among the covers on this record.
The covers are, in order of appearance: “Leaving London” (Tom Paxton), “Bull Rider” (Johnny Cash), “Twilight” (The Band), “Down By The River” (Neil Young), “Tarnished Angel” (Roger Miller), “Jesus, Etc.” (Wilco) and “GTO” (Jeb Loy Nichols). Norah Jones is also the front-woman of the Little Willies, another part-time country band, but Puss N Boots is much more of a collaborative affair, with each of the trio contributing original tunes and the three ladies harmonizing and trading leads on the tracks, with Sasha Dobson on bass/drums, Catherine Popper on bass/guitar and Jones abandoning the piano for the guitar.
Highlights on this album were for me the Jones' original "Don't Know What It Means" with its train-track beat and rock & roll vibe, Dobson's languidly "Sex Degrees Of Separation," the folkish Wilco cover “Jesus, Etc.,” and they really rock on the live version of Neil Young’s "Down By The River.” The Amazon deluxe edition adds two bonus tracks: another Cash cover, “Cry, Cry, Cry,” and a fourth song recorded live at The Bell House, a cover of the 1932 evergreen “In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town” by Ted Lewis and His Band. Being from outside the USA, I couldn’t buy the Amazon MP3 version, so had to resort to the iTunes album, which lacks these two extra tracks. There’s also no Digital Booklet.
At first, I considered “No Fools, No Fun” more like a nice in-betweener while waiting for more serious stuff from Norah, after her awesome 2012 album “Little Broken Hearts.” But after repeated listening’s, these tracks started to gel for me. The ladies began playing together for kicks in N.Y.C. nightclubs in 2008, and now that they have released their debut album as Puss N Boots, it’s even more clear that here we have a trio of talented friends who are still having lots of fun while making music. Their playing and singing is of a consistently high level, on the studio recordings as well as live, and they succeed admirably in making songs from iconic performers their own.