Album Review of
Not Yer Daddy's Bluegrass

Written by Joe Ross
May 8, 2015 - 12:00am EDT
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In their CD liner notes, the Fabulous Bagasse Boyz extend special thanks to Spongebob Squarepants (yes, the cartoon character) for his "infinite wisdom, advice and ongoing inspiration." That alone may give you a hint about this Louisiana - based trio that takes its name from that fibrous part of sugar cane or sugar beets that is left after the juice has been extracted. The Fabulous Bagasse Boyz don't live in a pineapple under the sea, but they certainly have a lot of fun and serve up plenty of nonsense. At the same time, their seventeen tracks aren't so crazy that they encourage you to drop on the deck and flop like a fish. When they play a standard number like "Hot Corn, Cold Corn," they emphasize the former. The Boyz are simply a good - time band that is entertaining for their irreverence and attitude that don't necessarily strive for a flashy, conventional approach to bluegrass. Heck, didn't Spongebob once say, "Imaginaaaaaation makes a rainbow"? Another favorite quote from the character is that "some day, with a little luck, and a tiny pinch of magic, all your dreams will come true!" That may very well be the underlying tenet for these Boyz. 

The FBB consists of Rex Hall (guitar), Willi Sager (bass), and Hans "Fritz" Mayers (banjo, mandolin). You can tell they really enjoy playing together and singing in harmony. For something really off-the-wall, perhaps they should work up a bluegrass version of Spongebob's theme song. They do, however, cover eclectic material from such diverse sources as Johnny Nash to Dave Akeman, John Hartford to Mark Schatz, Bill Bryson to Pete Goble, Townes Van Zandt to William Shively. There are also a number of traditional instrumental tunes featuring primarily banjo breaks with solid rhythm accompaniment. Mayers does a particularly fine job on "Lost Indian," which they also list as "Disoriented Native American" and end with a whoop. "Calgary" also has plenty of drive. "Wilson's Clog" is one you don't often hear on banjo. Mayers' mandolin makes only an understated appearance in a few places like Roy Maples' gospel piece "I Am, I Was, I Will." On their future projects, it would be nice to hear some more mandolin, as well as perhaps some guests on fiddle and/or resophonic guitar. Almost all of their songs are concise and succinct, each coming in at three minutes or less. I understand that their infectious repertoire at live shows is even more varied with songs from Elvis, Gershwin, Everly Brothers, Village People, and others. They also display a Spongebob donation box with a caveat "the sooner the box fills up, the sooner we'll stop playing and you don't have to listen to us anymore." 

When the spirited band formed, their notes state that "there was much consternation from all corners as this axis of goobers ... came together with the sole purpose of humiliating the musical world with their slip - shod musicianship and annoying arrangements." It's refreshing that "Not ‘Yer Daddy's Bluegrass" doesn't take itself too seriously. Their first album is referred to as a "disc of vexation," but it's really not so annoying or distressing. Their music is full of banjo - centric fun, enthusiastic vocals, and down - home excitement. It's very animated hydrodynamically designed music that would make Spongebob proud, and The Fabulous Bagasse Boyz aren't even above calling themselves goof y goobers. With a fast - moving stageshow that incorporates strong comedy, I'll bet they're hits at regional fairs, quirky festivals, and rowdy clubs … especially when Annoy Squidward Day rolls around every year. (Joe Ross)