Get In The Groove

Wes’s New CD Now Available!

Tracks Include:
1. Shot Time
2. Ludella Small Blues
3. Raqmop Reality
4. Bright Boy’s Boogie
5. Madam Fu-Fu’s Dream Book
6. T-99
7. Cryptic Cocktail Mix
8. Dreaming at the Dig Palace
9. Voodoo-ola
10. Baptized in Bop

Back to Wes Race

Wes Race - Crytpic Whalin’!
NEW CD! Available now at
On Cool Groove Records!
Wes Race - Cryptic Whalin’!
Produced by Jim Colegrove
in Fort Worth, Texas

Cryptic Whalin’! Reviews

This is a quality CD—well-produced, and the backing musicians can hold their own. The main attraction is the jive lyrics by Wes Race. He can tell a story in four or five minutes that you’ll want to hear again; and the Texas blues makes the trip even more worthwhile. I know there are jazz poets but I like the blues. And Cryptic Whalin’! is full of references to historical Chicago blues artists. There are real people in it, too. Maybe you know some of them. I wouldn’t play it for Sunday School—there are a few profanties sprinkled through the tracks for emphasis. This will be a collector’s item; meanwhile, it’s good for your soul.

Elmo B. “Discerning Buyer” (New Mexico)

Hipsters, Daddy-O’s, Cool Cats and Kittens, I’ve got but two words for you ... Wes Race!

Do you know what real is? Wes Race ...
Do you know what funky is? Wes Race ...
Do you know what truth is? Wes Race ...
Knock Knock. Do you know what Cryptic Whalin’ is? Wes Race ...

Wes lays out the seamy under belly that exists within us all, the fear of black helicopters, the notion that Agent Mulder may just have been right, the frustration with not finding Twin Peaks on any map, and the plan we all have tucked away, for what we’d do when we hit the lottery ... yet we never play.

Wes rolls with some outrageous stories, all set to a funky bass line, infectious organ, and a hard driving guitar that are spurred on by a fine Boogie Woogie piano. All this fans the flames of some fast talking banter that will have you down on your knees, with an ear to ear smile, sure that you’ve found god ... though an escaped disciple of the devil turned grifter car salesman, is more aptly the case.

This is hipster jive at it’s very best, all played out in a smokey bar, where William Burroughs sells dope in the restroom, where Ken Nordine shows up at every performance, where Jack Kerouac has a permanently reserved table, where Lenny Bruce is serving drinks, and Hunter Thompson is finally sitting quietly with his mouth wide open.

You know what you should be checking out? Wes Race ... You’re going to have to trust me on this one, but for those of you game for an adventure, this is your first stop.

July 2008

Cryptic Whalin’, the new disc by Wes Race, is a litmus test to how hip and cool you really is. Face it — the narrow minded, void of imagination and lacking a broad vocabulary will be frightened — people always fear most what they do not understand.

“What IS that man blabbering on about?”

For the rest, who often wonder if the beat poetry scene has gone on to begin pushing up the daisies will rejoice in the fact that there are still people amongst us here in the DFW area that own a dictionary — even if it’s one they wrote themselves. My God — thinkers whose minds DON’T have to be pried open with a crowbar to let in an innovative idea. These are the ones who know Race IS NOT just blabbering on — every word, no matter how fancifully phrased or plainly stated — is a necessity. Can’t make your point without saying what you mean!

What’s the blues tie in? Wes’s verse is spoken over some great classic jump and groove blues riffs by local hipsters like Sumter Bruton (ever been to Record Town? Any question Sumter gets it?) and James Hinkle (so cool in his clothing choices and guitar styling the man glows red hot in a dimly lit juke).

Which brings up another point — this is not daylight stuff. You don’t give life to thoughts in his manner between Noon and 4 pm — more like Midnight to 4 am. This is after the joint is closed stuff — what happens when the artists have given of themselves to support making a living, the bar closes, the amateurs go home, and the pros break out the single malt scotch, tequila, moonshine and Mad Dog 20/20 (to each their own!) and cut loose to feed their souls.

Not part of that crowd? Don’t feel bad — few are. But get a hold of Cryptic Whalin and let Wes Race give you a quick lesson in cool.

Blue Lisa
Southwest Blues CD Review - June 2008

The Kansas expat boho poet-spoken word artiste’s bluesfan credentials are impeccable: cat was there, Chicago in the early ‘70s, hangin’ at the Jazz Record Mart, scribing for Living Blues, roadying for Hound Dog Taylor (the real ‘riginator of the ultra-primitive fucked-up blues as co-opted by young upstarts like Jon Spencer, Jack White, an’ like that). Back home in Wichita in the ‘80s, Wes connected with Texas-based bluesicians including the Fort’s own Juke Jumpers, and he relocated here in the ‘90s, his hipster jive patois and unique selection of hats making him an unmistakable fixture on the local blues set.

Up till Cryptic Whalin’!, Race’s only released recordings were a couple of tracks on the two CDs of hallucinatory blues guitar wizardry he produced for the late Robin Sylar. Now, ex-Juke Jumper Jim Colegrove has assembled a “who’s who” of Fort Worth blues talent (dubbed “the Sumterraneans,” a piece of wordplay that works on a coupla levels) to back Wes on this, his debut full-length. Wes’ brand of spoken jive has a lineage traceable back to bebop scat-man Babs Gonzalez and boho comedian Lord Buckley. Non-initiates could probably best relate it to Tom Waits’ monologues, but the proximate model for both Waits and Race is probably Ken Nordine, a voice actor who cut a series of “word jazz” LPs in the late ‘50s.

Ken Shimamoto
I Love Fort Worth

Race’s career path has led to the release this month of a debut CD-album of his original poetry, recited spontaneously against a blues-rooted musical backdrop. The recording, Cryptic Whalin’ (Cool Groove Records), is a production of the guitarist and engineer Jim Colegrove, with instrumental contributions from such additional mainstays of Fort Worth’s roots-music scene as saxophonists Johnny Reno and René Ozuna, guitarists Sumter Bruton and James Hinkle, drummers Steve Springer and Larry Reynolds, steel guitarist David McMillan and keyboard artists Jeff Gutcheon and Ruf Rufner.

It is a temptation to characterize Race as an artistic descendant of such Beat figures as Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but Race’s amused sense of wordplay and rhythmic lyricism suggest a distinct strain of blues-inspired verse. Race cites Nelson Algren’s 1956 novel of innocence under stress, A Walk on the Wild Side, among early influences, and Race mentions a particular admiration for the poetic rock ’n’ roll ramblings of Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart.

...the observational gifts of the devoted observer-of-humanity clearly have figured in Wes Race’s ability to transform seemingly mundane experiences into riveting poetic recitations of unabashed frankness – sometimes harshly worded and confrontational, a study in First Amendment Absolutism, and sometimes nostalgic or colored with sentimental longing. The pieces tend to resolve themselves in a tone of jovial absurdity, often with the garnish of a punch-line or a non-sequitur.

Michael Price
Fort Worth Business Press
March 3, 2008

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