Bruce Humphries and the Rockabilly Rebels – Live It Up!
Comin’ Down Hard – How Do You Do? – Jack Splat – In My Backyard – She’s Your Problem Now – Pitter Patter – Live It Up! – Leave The Lights Out – Cool Clad Daddy – Take Me Home
Bruce Humphries and the Rockabilly Rebels hail from Milwaukee, and they rock! Humphries is not a newcomer, having played with Dibbs Preston (the Rockats). he also opened for the Brian Setzer Orchestra. In addition to Humphries on vocals and guitar, the group consists of Lorenzo Ripani (guitars), Kurt Weber (drums) and John Steffes* (bass).
Let’s say it right away, Live It Up! is a very good album. But if I had to find a weak point (it’s always better to evacuate the negative points first), it wouldn’t be in the music but in the band’s name. That’s a minor detail, but I find ‘Rockabilly Rebels’ too restrictive. It doesn’t accurately reflect what’s on this record. As a matter of fact, the genres covered are much more varied and go far beyond the strict framework of Rockabilly. Their music is not that easy to pigeonhole, and one could compare them to Webb Wilder or the Leroi Brothers.
Thus, stuck between two Hi-octane Rock’n’Roll to open (Comin’ Down Hard) and end the disc (Take Me Home), we find, of course, Rockabilly (Cool Clad Daddy) but also a 60s country track with a touch of Psychedelic rock (the excellent She’s Your Problem Now), a menacing track on a slow tempo that sounds very Cramps (How Do You Do?), or a wild rock very close to the already mentioned Webb Wilder (Live It Up). Always quick to vary the atmospheres, the group also offers two instrumentals, a rock’n’roll and a surf one, on which Humphries plays the lead guitar, as well as country tracks like the sombre Leave The Lights On, on which his deep voice works wonders. The whole thing is perfectly recorded and produced. The work and the balance between the two guitars are perfect, the solos are continually inventive, and the rhythm section supports everything with the necessary groove.
In addition, Humphries wanted to enrich the experience by offering something more than music, which is why the cd is presented in a superb large format three-fold digipack, with 3D images and the glasses that go with it.
Put your hands on this superb object, and PLAY LOUD!
Available here: https://brucehumphries.bandcamp.com/album/live-it-up
*By a sad coincidence, I learned of the death of Steffes while I was writing this review.