- Released: October 30, 2006
- Label: Wounded Bird Records
Rolling Stone - 9/8/94, p.813.5 Stars
- Good - "...the most cohesive and best sampling of NRBQ's distinctive personalities since GROOVES IN ORBIT."
Q - 11/94, p.1184 Stars
- Excellent - "...their music gets airier, more playful and seemingly more youthful with each of their umpteen albums...it's the Lovin' Spoonful communing with Red Hot Chili Peppers..."
Musician - 3/94, p.83
"...MESSAGE is their best album since 1978's AT YANKEE STADIUM, mainly because Anderson, Spampinato and Terry Adams are writing some of their most substantial songs in years..."
- 1.Over Your Head
- 2.A Little Bit of Bad
- 3.Don't Bite the Head
- 4.Big Dumb Jukebox
- 5.Designated Driver
- 7.Everybody Thinks I'm Crazy
- 8.Nothin' Wrong with Me
- 10.A Better Word for Love
- 11.Advice for Teenagers
- 12.Girl Scout Cookies
- 13.Everybody's Smokin'
NRBQ: Al Anderson (vocals, guitar); Terry Adams (piano, electric keyboards, celeste, vocals); Joey Spampinato (bass, guitar, vocals); Tom Ardolino (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Gary Windo (tenor saxophone); Johnny Spampinato (trumpet); Donn Adams (trombone); Don Allen (percussion).
Engineers: Chris Andersen, George Cowan, Tom Mark, Todd Levine, Tod Vas.
Recorded at Nevessa Productions, Bearsville Studios and Woodstock, New York.
Personnel: Joey Spampinato, Al Anderson (vocals, guitar); Terry Adams (vocals, piano, celesta, keyboards); Gary Windo (tenor saxophone); Johnny Spampinato (trumpet); Don Adams , Donn Adams (trombone); Tom Ardolino (drums, percussion); Don Allen (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Tom Mark.
Recording information: Bearsville Studios, NY; Nevassa Productions; Nevessa Production; Woodstock, NY.
Photographer: Brian Smith .
Unknown Contributor Role: Tod Vas.
This title became the final studio effort from NRBQ to include Al Anderson (guitar/vocals), marking the conclusion of their 23-year association. The split was ultimately amicable, with Anderson effectively retiring from both the band as well as touring, preferring to mine his considerable songwriting talents in Nashville, TN. Message for the Mess Age includes a baker's dozen of originals -- many of which quickly became performance standards -- all epitomizing NRBQ's uncanny brand of omni-pop. It is fitting that both the Whole Wheat Horns -- featuring Donn Adams (trombone) and Gary Windo (tenor sax) -- as well as Johnny Spampinato, Anderson's replacement and brother of co-founding member Joey Spampinato, are included in the proceedings. However, his contributions to this release are decidedly un-stringed, as he fleshes out the horn section performing on trumpet during the Terry Adams- (keyboards/vocals) penned bit of dadaism titled "Spampinato." Each of the highly individualistic writing styles that have become synonymous with the band are explored. Terry Adams' straight-ahead, driving rock, which is often enhanced with interesting key changes and a somewhat quirky chorus, is heard on tracks such as "Over Your Head," "Girl Scout Cookies," and the atonal jazz fusion-influenced "Everybody's Smokin'." Joey Spampinato's beautifully constructed melodies -- which are at times reminiscent of Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson -- can be found on "Don't Bite the Head" and the mid-tempo ballad "Ramona." The latter track even pays homage to the Fab Four with the lyric "Just love me do/Don't love me not." Equally strong -- if not arguably stronger -- are the compositions by Anderson. His upbeat love songs, "A Little Bit of Bad" and "Nothin' Wrong With Me," definitely lean into the cosmopolitan country music that would consume his post-NRBQ activities. ~ Lindsay Planer