Album Reviews

Filter :

Released Out now

 

Love Is A Trap!

Nelson Carrera

Tessy Records / Rhythm Bomb

Released on Tessy Records via the prolific Rhythm Bomb label in Germany, Nelson Carrera issues a warning that ‘Love Is A Trap’. Largely consisting of original material, Carrera, who grew up in Angola before later settling in Portugal and finding himself in fine company with other likeminded artists such as Carl & the Rhythm All Stars and Ruby Ann, issues this latest album under his own moniker, but not without help from an assortment of supporting musicians. The title song will be a source of contention for many but the song itself is reminiscent of a late-fifties era beginning to sway towards a lighter pop market with the harsher elements of rock ‘n’ roll being toned down. Nothing wrong with that of course, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more bite then the serious guitar of ‘Cold Heart’ and rockin’ rhythm of ‘But She’s Not You’ are but two examples to help soothe those rockin’ hearts. The issue of relationships continues to be a thorn in the side of Carrera with the cover of Hank Williams ‘I’ll Be A Batchelor Till I Die’ before raising a holler with a little Jerry Lee Lewis inspired ‘Who’s Gonna Love Me Now’ that really puts a spark in the system, only to be usurped by an outstanding rendition of Buck Owens ‘Crying Time’ which, for our money, takes home the prize. If love really is nothing but a devious shroud, then, in the hands of Nelson Carrera, it really isn’t so bad after all as the lure of ‘Love Is A Trap’ reveals.


Released Out now

 

‘Scream & Bop’ (single)

The Doel Brothers

El Toro

In honour of their festival appearances this year, The Doel Brothers have conjured up a 45 vinyl single consisting of ‘Scream & Bop / I Left My Wife In Vegas’. Such was the impact of the former song, that El Toro Record’s head honcho, Carlos Diaz, bestowed the honour of official song for this year’s Screamin’ Festival held in Spain; meaning that ‘Scream & Bop’ is likely to be remembered for years to come such is the status of this legendary music festival. Promotional tools aside, ‘Scream & Bop’ stands on its own feet with its jittery rhythm, fine guitar break and delightfully raspy vocal curl, “Doooowwwnnn on the beach at the Screamin’ Bop” supplied by brother Gordon and giving the game away that rockabilly is present in their repertoire when the mood feels right. The flipside, ‘I Left My Wife In Vegas’ flexes the Western Swing muscle of The Doel Bothers and offers another reason why this four piece is highly sought after, such is their flexibility but also their dexterity when managing other genres as ‘I Left My Wife In Vegas’ sounds effortless. Equally appealing, however, is the band’s sense of humour as the hapless victim(s), depending on which way you perceive it, is waking up with one dreadful hangover when the dust settles after this Vegas vacation. All things considered, ‘Scream & Bop / I Left My Wife In Vegas’ is the perfect accompaniment to any rockin’ festival this year, but as a 45 single in its own right, The Doel Brothers have just weaved the magic once again.


Released Out now

 

Big Bang Boogie

Ricky Fabian

Rhythm Bomb

There is an air of change at Rhythm Bomb Records as one or two recent releases display a variation in sound to accompany the rockabilly the label is normally renowned for. That is not to suggest that there has been a complete overhaul in the sound department, as the variations in styles remain subtle at the very least. Ricky Fabian, however, is one of those artists who, with his ‘Big Bang Boogie’, opens the doors to numerous influences whether the near big band feel of the title track or western swing of ‘Never Trust A Girl’, there appears nothing this emerging cool cat cannot do. With the recording having taken place at Lightning Recording Service in Germany, it is remarkable to think that the level of consistency and creativity of ‘Big Bang Boogie’ is a little shy of thirty minutes due to the amount of songs on offer here. The straight rockabilly of ‘When You Break A Heart’ and affection for Sonny West’s ‘Sweet Rockin’ Baby’ during ‘Rockin’ With My Baby’, not to mention the wonderful balladry of ‘Searchin’, bringing to mind Eddie Cochran when in this mood, are yet more examples why the name Ricky Fabian is likely to be heralded as the next big thing come the rockin’ weekenders during the summer months. There is just one thing Ricky Fabian needs to address, however, and that is to record a second helping of ‘Never Trust A Girl’ with the male species as the bane of the troubles next time if we’re going to restore an even footing in the equality stakes.


Released Out now

 

Enjoy The Ride

Pete Anderson & The Swamp Shakers

Rhythm Bomb

The clue is definitely in the title when it comes to Pete Anderson & The Swamp Shakers new album as there are enough musical references here, crammed inside a rockabilly exterior,  that will appeal to the broadest of tastes and therefore making that ‘journey’ one of the most pleasurable you’re likely to experience. Whether it’s the opening roll of upright bass and finger pickin’ guitar of ‘Don’t Be Shy’ setting the wheels of the Hudson Hornet (add your own choice of car here) in motion, only to make a brief stop to pick up the next passenger, ‘You Gotta Be Mine’ that’s swinging across the dance floor in sheer delight to an irresistible rhythm courtesy of the The Swamp Shakers, you will not be disappointed. There is a considered approach to ‘Red Corvette’ with its welcome change in pace, doo-wop backing vocals and (almost) understated guitar only to be outdone by the persuasive slow swing of ‘Barbie Doll’ that is handled with great precision by all present and no doubt in reference to the goddess at the centre of all the attention. Without a moment to rest, however, ‘Hot Rod Rocket’ peels away at considerable speed and sounding as if it’s being pursued by the local law enforcers with its frantic rhythm and wild hollering, and all of this from Latvia as well!  An inspired collection of songs, executed with great expertise and therefore worthy of repeat listens, especially considering its sheer breadth of content that requires more than one sitting, ‘Enjoy The Ride’ is clever, clever stuff indeed.


Released Out now

 

She Put A Spell On Me

Marc & the Wild Ones

Rhythm Bomb

Second album in for the cross-cultural four-piece that is Marc & the Wild Ones after their impressive debut ‘The Rockin’ Beat Of…’ issued a few years back. The difference between first base and second base is immediate, however, as there is a maturing in sound, which is commendable as their venomous edge remains intact but there is a noticeable difference from the get-go with the restrained qualities of opening duo ‘Be Boppin Baby’ and ‘Can’t Stop Loving You’ that benefits their overall sound immensely. Even Marc Valentine’s vocal is reined in slightly, giving the impression that patience is sometimes a virtue as he sounds in commanding form and giving a bourbon soaked edge to ‘I Love My Baby’. There’s a tinge of blues to the on the road ambience of ‘Please Don’t Go’ that is borderline expansive in terms of its vision as the Wild Ones teeter on the edge of fresh territory in the creativity department. Elsewhere, ‘Boppin Little Kangaroo’ is as playful as its name suggests only to be given a short life by the rabblerousing ‘Real Rockin Baby’ with its Johnny Burnette & the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio undertones. ‘She Put A Spell On Me’ is clearly seduced during the dark current trawling through ‘Little Ann’, with further experimentation by means of sax this time as it purrs down the shirt collar of the smitten individual. If Marc & the Wild Ones can carry such form into their next venture without forgetting to dip their toes in the creative pool, and lose a little formulaic baggage along the way (‘Honey Bun’), then album number three promises to be an even greater step in their evolution.


Released Out now

 

In Dreams: Greatest Hits

Roy Orbison

Sony Legacy

Not a complete retrospective of Roy Orbison and his work, but a well-timed re-release of a previous collection given out during the late 80s which has proven difficult to find. ‘In Dreams: Greatest Hits’ is now issued as a single CD encompassing all 19 tracks of the previous double album release and with the added bonus of being finely tuned in the sound department. Although there is much to enthuse over here, ‘In Dreams: Greatest Hits’ features re-recorded versions of Orbison’s original outputs, focusing on the dark emotional ballads ‘It’s Over’, ‘Crying’ and ‘Running Scared’ as well as obvious inclusions with the rock ‘n’ roll-lite ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ and infectious ‘Dream Baby’. To our chagrin, however, there is a lack of material from Orbison’s work with Sun Records, despite a punchy version of ‘Claudette’ and impressive retake of ‘Ooby Dooby’. The inclusion of ‘In Dreams’ makes up for any deficiencies however, evoking memories of David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ of the late 80s and equal to its original. ‘Up Town’ opens the rock ‘n’ roll door once more at a strolling pace of jangling piano keys and minimal brass before breaking into a near sweat with ‘Mean Woman Blues’. ‘In Dreams: Greatest Hits’ is a timely reissue for those seeking instant gratification when it comes to Roy Orbison’s more well-known material and one that does not stray from its overall intentions.


Released Out now

 

Oh, Brother…It’s The Doel Brothers!

The Doel Brothers

El Toro

Possessing more in common with the Southwest of the US than the South East of England when it comes to attire and more importantly music, The Doel Brothers ‘Oh, Brother…It’s The Doel Brothers!’ transports the listener to an era of western swing, honkytonk, hillbilly boogie and rockabilly. What transpires during the course of this album is the seemingly effortless manner in which the three brothers David, Gordon, Tom and odd man out Gary churn out a stream of short sharp ditties packed with intricate details that reveals a wealth of experience at the heart of this engine. Listen out for the fingerpicking delight that is ‘Educated Mind’ with its intriguing lyrics suggesting an imbalance when it comes to experience and a relationship. The spring in its step of ‘Kissin Bug Boogie’ brings a smile to the face whereas the more rockabilly inspired ‘Tell Me You’re Mine’ weighs heavy at the other end of the scale due to being full of pent-up (sexual) frustration. The moonshine corks are popped during ‘Whiskey Lovin’ Fool’ sang to perfection with occasional hillbilly croon and revealing edges of humour yet fully aware that there is a serious problem at heart. There is such a delightful lilting quality to this whole album that leaves one hankering for days gone by. Embrace these guys with open arms because The Doel Brothers deserve the upmost respect.


Released Out now

 

Don’t Stop The Rock Bop

B and The Bops

Rhythm Bomb

Something special is brewing in Croatia when it comes to the rockin’ sound. B and The Bops is the band and ‘Don’t Stop The Rock Bop’ is their sound. Casting a suspicious gaze over a stuttering romance ‘Prove Your Love Is True’, B and The Bops set about their business in boisterous mood. Set to a steady rhythm ‘Come Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone’ is the issued warning and likely outcome when considering lines such as, “You killed me with your coldness for years and years too long” before wheels are set firmly in motion with perky guitars, forceful bass and all-too-brief  authentic peeping steam whistle.  There is fun to be had though, with the textbook wild rockin’ ‘Don’t Stop The Rock Bop’ and live recorded feel of ‘Rock You Baby’. Having been cast adrift once too often (‘Fool I Am’), B and The Bops are no pushovers either as demonstrated by the sting in the tail of ‘Forget About You’. Unfortunately for this Croatian four piece, the moments of heartbreak remain essential to their expertly executed rockabilly sound and long may it reign.


Released Out now

 

Wild Wild Lover

Sonny Tucker and The Tornados

Rhythm Bomb

Not particularly renowned for wild-sounding rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, but in the instance of Sonny Tucker and The Tornados Switzerland has something to cheer about. Armed with fourteen rockin’ tracks, ‘Wild Wild Lover’ begins in guitar pickin’ fashion and a superb authentic vocal calling for a “rock with the Tornados, rock the whole night long” because there really is no other way once this song gets under your skin. The mood takes a more downbeat turn during the reflective ‘Don’t Hang Around Me Anymore’ with guitars slowing to a mid-tempo rhythm, edges slightly twanging and adding to the melancholy. This sombre tone is enhanced further with the closing refrain held during ‘I Don’t Care’; “Goodbye my sweetheart, see you down in hell” warbled to great effect and sounding as black as ash in its utter contempt. Title track, ‘Wild Wild Lover’ is played out to steady thunderous beats before breaking loose in a fit of despair once the lover in question has departed to pastures new. ‘Did You Mean Jelly Bean’ reveals another facet to Sonny Tucker’s vocals as it delightfully rumbles out to slight exaggeration the chorus and handled by some serious dexterous guitar. If it’s wild rock ‘n’ roll you’re searching for, then the self-explanatory ‘The House Is Rockin’ will leave you gaping in sheer awe before being brought back down to earth with the Hawaiian sway of ‘Lovers Rock’. Not only is ‘Wild Wild Lover’ an exhilarating ride of wild rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll, but it constantly screams out as a reminder that Sonny Tucker and The Tornados is ‘the’ band to experience live during the coming months.


Released Out now

 

Touch The Madness

Mickey & The Mutants

Western Star

Thanks to the good people at Western Star Records, Mickey & The Mutants ‘Touch The Madness’ arrived on the FLW desk a couple of weeks back and has been something of a revelation due to knowing very little about this band on Norwegian soil. Proclaiming ‘these ol’ bones are psychobilly old school’ contains a ring of truth as there is a definite slowing of the pulse. This ageing predicament, however, is utilised to the band’s advantage as evidenced by the dark turn that is the wonderfully titled ‘Elvirista (Queen Of The Dead)’ maintaining a steady pace throughout and interspersed with compelling drumbeats. ‘Blonde Haired Assassin’ is pale in the vocal department but more than compensated for with electrifying guitar the sort Brian Setzer would be proud of. It remains, however, the songs ‘Something Bad’s Comin’ Outa The Ground’ and spellbinding vision held within of ‘Kiss Of The Spider Woman’ that standout due to their gripping portrayal of events seen through the eyes of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits who are more than happy to whisper instructions whilst sitting pretty on either shoulder. ‘Touch The Madness’ is definitely a venture worth pursuing.


Released Out now

 

How To Fly A Rocket

The Kings of Outer Space

Western Star

One of the highlights during this year’s Western Star Records birthday bash, The Kings of Outer Space extend their space fantasies further with ‘How To Fly A Rocket’. Paul Newman, aka Greggsy, of Western Star’s other hot cats The Cheaterslicks continues his association on bass duties and in the process leaving the more-than-capable frontman duties to the charismatic Giggsy to spin yarns of paranoia and obsessions. It is these very subjects that line the walls of opening ’44’ with its use of accordion – yes, accordion – gripping the senses and equally compelling lyrics concerning a fixation of OCD sized proportions regarding the number in question. Such obsessions spill over into the rockin’ ‘Fall From Grace’ only the fixation this time is with the opposite sex or alien species, depending on your interpretation,  ‘moving to the rhythm of the drums and bass’. ‘Daggertrap’ shakes things up in a full-on instrumental romp consisting of driving bass and raucous guitars occasionally crawling up and down the red-hot scales to spine-tingling effect. ‘Monkey Alarm’ is the not too distant relation of ‘Ghost Town’, from first album ‘Cosmic Debris’, as one can almost hear the desperate pleas of “Gotta get away” only this time it’s emanating from a group of monkeys subjected to the cruelties of BMX testing! Such injections of humour is part of the appeal of The Kings of Outer Space but also their open nature to experimentation such as the odd little ditty ‘Creepy Crawl’, sounding as if fronted by Terry Hall, to the sprightly banjo of ‘Long Dry Summer’ and topped off in fantastic fashion by the excellent and warped doo wop harmonising of ‘Moon Buggy Baby’. The Kings of Outer Space return where they left off, as ‘How To Fly A Rocket’ is on an equal par with its debut, which is fine praise indeed.


Released Out now

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard

The Cheaterslicks

Western Star

Having undergone one or two line-up changes since debut album ‘ Rev Up, Burn Out’, the change in personnel has definitely not subdued The Cheaterslicks momentum. If anything, new album ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard’ is a considerable leap forward in the department labelled ‘variation’ compared to its predecessor that was more foot to the floor rockabilly and therefore living up to its moniker.

Despite opening song ‘Bayou Boogie’ suggesting a repeat of their previous winning formula, the band opt for more challenging terrain by letting in the blues and adding a country twang or two. Once ‘Don’t Ya Know’ swoops in on a lovely vocal drawl and claims your heart within a matter of seconds, it is clear The Cheaterslicks not only have a major hit single on their hands but also the creative department is under exploration. ‘Betty Page (Let’s Talk About Love)’ adds further weight to such ideas due to its playful taunts rubbing up against the serious declarations given by lead vocalist Paul Newman as it is played to a slight country beat, which is stretched further with the unreciprocated love of ‘Tears Heartaches & You’. The western feel of ‘Desert Wind’ completes this (almost) trilogy of country-inspired songs, bearing in mind the raucous ‘Nothing To Lose’ sandwiched in between, and reveals Newman’s depth of vocal delivery (head to the magnificent ‘Blonde Blue Eyed Beauty’ for further evidence).

‘Bad Bad Girl’ sees The Cheaterslicks comparing notes over a few rounds of drinks with label mates The Wolftones as it’s reminiscent of the latter’s blues-inspired numbers with its strutting beat and tight harmonica.

The rumbling and shaking instrumental ‘Gasolina’ unveils further facets to this album, which is nicely balanced with the restrained rhythm of ‘Honey Bee’, pleading for its ‘baby’ to come on home, only to be usurped by the outlaw quality of ‘Forgotten Places’.

Clocking in at a sizable 18 tracks, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard’ will severely test the patience of those more attuned to the present culture of downloads whereby a handful of songs more than suffice. As it stands, The Cheaterslicks seem to be hitting a rich vein of form, and one that is not afraid to experiment, as the majority of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard’ reveals a winning formula to rival any in the modern rockin’ stakes.



Back To Top