Dec. 12, 2014

Paul Zollo Get's His Clown On with 'Universal Cure'

Paul Zollo's 'Universal Cure' review
By Marc Platt

Paul Zollo has been a top-notch music writer, critic and connoisseur of popular music for decades. He has also been a songwriter, performer and producer of his own music. To say Mr. Zollo is a supportive member of the Los Angeles cultural scene would be an understatement.

'Universal Cure' is another fine example of Zollo's lyric-central technique and acumen. The man has worked with many great musicians as a lyricist including the late-great comedian Steve Allen. Art Garfunkel has performed on one of his albums. He wrote books with Paul Simon and Tom Petty. His book 'Songwriters on Songwriting' is practically a bible for serious writers in Los Angeles or anytown in the world.

The CD begins with "Mississippee Sheiks" and sets the tone that this is a CD full of ear candy to go along with Zollo's heavy-duty lyrical content. He tells stories, cajoles listeners with a landscape that is uniquely original. He has worked with Darryl Purpose for years writing songs. You could say Zollo collects talented collaborators and that is evident by the husband & wife team of Earl Grey and Lisa Johnson who leave their footprints all over the recording.

I really connected with the poppy "God Gave Me Something To Keep." The message is clear and Zollo leaves his audience with hope and a reason to pull out your 'Graceland' album for a reminder of the great sounds that world music offers us and inspire us to do better as artists.

"Muddy & Bo" delivers for those of us who revere the founding fathers of Blues, Rock and Soul. 

"Baltimore" sets the somber tone of Edgar Allen Poe's final days in Maryland. Zollo is impeccably well-read, but never writes above his listeners heads. He eductates with his lyrics and leaves you wanting to check it out on Google. God forbid we should ever open a book. We don't need to with artists like Paul Zollo to remind us that music can be a teaching tool. 

"Clown Jam at the Moose Lodge" is just plain feelin' good fun. I love the accordion on this track.

"Maggie" is tender and telling as Zollo recounts lost love. Solid writing and the mood is reflective.

"Bow & Arrow" rocks a little harder than most of the tracks and has a Tom Petty vibe with some crafty chord changes thrown in. The story goes against the musical backdrop with serious lyric matter regarding native Americans. "The Ghost of Crazy Horse" carries on with the serious subject matter that Zollo is known for among songwriting circles.

I LOVED "Tallahassee UFO." It rocks and grooves in a great pocket throughout. Great hook line also. I can see this one getting some airplay if the CD is serviced to radio.

Paul Zollo doesn't write short songs. They groove and are worth repeat listenings. This record borders on 70 minutes timewise. I suggest playing the CD in your car on a loop. You will appreciate where the man is coming from. Great production and assemblage of talent around him.

Highly Recommend: "Tallahasse UFO," "Baltimore," "God Gave Me Something to Keep" & "Universal Cure."