Every once in awhile I stumble upon a band that you’d think I would’ve been aware of. I’m not talking about old bands that have been out of service for years (like Gun, for instance), but going concerns like DADDY LONG LEGS. Street Sermons is their latest release – it’s their SIXTH album – and I’m pretty sure I never heard of them until now. Very strange, when you consider this is their second release on Yep Roc, which I am pretty tuned into, and a few of the others came out on Norton (a garage/’60s-style label out of Brooklyn who’s put out all kinds of stuff, including Sonics and Link Wray reissues). Well, as Marty diBerghi would say: “Enough of my yakkin’”… the Daddy Long Legs bandwagon just stopped by and I have jumped on!
Based in Brooklyn, the band is fronted by their namesake and harmonica-wieldin’ lead singer, Daddy Long Legs (real name Brian Hurd). Murak Aktürk plays guitar, Josh Styles plays the drums, and there’s now a fourth member that the press release declines to name. What Daddy Long Legs plays is definitely blues-based – they’ve charted on Billboard’s Blues chart – but it’s a lot more than that. I’d say they landed somewhere between the early Stones and maybe Jimmy Reed (at least on Street Sermons), with some Beatles, skiffle and other influences finding their way into the grooves. My favorite track is one of the least bluesy, “Nightmare,” which was likely written during the pandemic and has a solid, early Fab Four vibe to it, and others like “Been a Fool Once” hold the rock mantel in place. Indeed, the album’s gritty, almost lo-fi sound lends itself to the band’s not being pigeonholed. Whether you hear them as a “blues band,” an “Americana” group or a “rock ’n’ roll” outfit will depend on where you’re coming from. Me, I hear Daddy Long Legs as rock ’n’ roll with a heaping helping of harmonica to keep things hoppin’.
With Street Sermons, Daddy Long Legs has developed some wide-ranging fans. In fact, pop folkie John Sebastian joins them on one song and new wave misfit Wreckless Eric on a couple more. Give them a shot and you may join their ranks, too. I mean, they may not let you play on the next album, but you’ll probably like this one enough to stay tuned for the followup. Bandwagons worth jumping on don’t run every half an hour, you know. – Marsh Gooch
3.5/5 (YepRoc YEP-2785, 2023)