All A Man Should Do
Memphis-based punk/country/soul group Lucero has put out a dozen records in 15 years and has no signs of stopping. Lucero's latest release, All a Man Should Do comes less than a year after their great live album, Lucero: Live From Atlanta. I cannot discount their classic albums prior to All a Man Should Do, but within 10 tracks totaling 43 minutes, this is lead singer Ben Nichol's most emotional, versatile, and sonically diverse album. The songs are written like chapters straight out Mr. Nichols’ life. You can hear a definitive division halfway through the album, from lyrics about wallowing in regret to lyrics where he elects to do something. He sings about growing up and growing older, finding where you want to be in this world, the duality of relationships, etc. Nichols shows his fight with love, heartbreak and wallowing in a bottle in the slow, mournful track "I Woke Up In New Orleans" where he sings, "It's too late to change the path I chose." However, Lucero also covers an upbeat song originally by Big Star, a classic power-pop band from Memphis. Big Star’s drummer, Jody Stephens, even provides backing vocals for this track. All a Man Should Do has two definitive singles, "Went Looking For Warren Zevon's Los Angeles" and "Can't You Hear Them Howl.” One of the most soulful, energetic tracks is "Throwback No. 2" which includes an electronic piano, a saxophone solo, horn section and more. One of the best expressions of Ben Nichol's lyrical evolution is in the song, "The Man I Was," where he sings, "I'm never going back again / not the man I was back then / I will start again." Lucero melds the band's past and present to perfection.