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It's Halloween - Trick or Treat by Paul James Band

Blues guitarist extraordinaire Paul James has put his boundless creative energy into creating a short but ‘Halloween candy’ sweet two-song Halloween blues songs CD, appropriately called It’s Halloween - Trick or Treat. (It’s also the titles of the two Halloween novelty blues tunes on this spooky CD). James is offering these imaginatively created songs as free downloads on his website: He’s sharing them with his fans worldwide, so they can enjoy these scary tunes when the ‘goblins and ghosts wander with the witches and cauldrons’ - a true music celebration of Halloween in a fun, musical way! This CD was recorded by engineer Alec Fraser at his award-winning Liquid Toronto recording studio. Fraser is also the bassist on this highly entertaining It’s Halloween - Trick or Treat CD, which he co-produced it with Paul James.

The first tune ghostly ‘floating in’, is called "It’s Halloween." Henry De Clemente’s ‘death knoll’-style drumming introduces this Halloween novelty tune, along with Gary Gray’s Roger Corman-like organ riffs permeating in the background, like a ‘phantom in the opera house’. Paul’s storytelling vocals are thoroughly transfixing to listen to, like being a kid again, listening to ghost stories around a campfire. Some of these great lyrics, like "going door to door .... Shell out, shell out (on Halloween)" bring back fond memories of gathering huge bunches of candies door-to-door on Halloween night, while dressed either as a ghost, a skeleton, a cartoon character like Popeye or a pirate.

Paul’s spooky slide guitar playing on this tune is scary enough to drive the graveyard corpses to getting up and go ‘a haunting. Munsters and Addams Family 1960s comedy TV show images are conjured up in Gray’s organ riffs, combined with more of James’ impeccably scary slide guitar. "It’s Halloween" reaches a spine-chilling climax with a scream sounding just like it’s right out of a Vincent Price/William Castle/Roger Corman 1950s scary movie -- (not to mention a Universal Monsters extravaganza from macabre-masters Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi).

The second of these very mid-‘60s-sounding (c. 1964) Halloween party tunes (from the time when 'Beach Party' movies were ‘in’), is appropriated titled "Trick or Treat". This upbeat winner ‘creature’-features some very fine Paul James guitar leads and rack harmonica playing, along with more of ‘drum king’ De Clemente’s super-high energy talent on the skins.

De Clemente’s a fine drummer whom this writer has seen perform at many live shows with James, as well as countless times before that with Henry’s former band the Bottle Devils featuring Gus Papas on guitar, (another impeccably gifted guitarist as Paul is), along with Fraser on bass. Gray’s upbeat, melodic piano riffs are a major bonus adding fun to the novelty heard on "Trick or Treat". Fraser’s bass lines bounce along nicely; which also adds to the mid-1960s-sounding Halloween party atmosphere that abounds here.

All in all, this two-song Paul James Halloween novelty tunes CD, entitled ‘It’s Halloween - Trick or Treat’, is a lot of fun to listen to. It’s fast becoming a Halloween music standard heard on radio as far away as 'Canadian Cath' Ford's 'Sugar City Blues' bluesoz radio show on 4CRM in Queensland, Australia. That's when this James CD made its premiere on the airwaves during the Halloween season in 2004. I hope you like it too!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Paul James Band
  • CD Title: It's Halloween - Trick or Treat
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Lick N' Stick Records # PJ004'
  • Musicians: Paul James (lead & slide guitar, lead vocals & rack harmonica); Gary Gray (keyboards); Henry De Clemente (drums); Alec Fraser (bass)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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