T Becker Trio – Second Round
Crazy Times Records CTR-CD-125 
Gone She’s Gone – I Wanna Bop – Baby Look At Me – Bop Bop Bop – Cloud 9 – Tell Me – You Can’t Deny – Little Queen – Luckiest Guy – Me And My Baby – Do The Boogie – I’m Not Going Down – Why Does She Never Look At Me?
Can you believe it? One year after their debut album, the T Becker Trio returns with a second one that is even better than the first. These three guys are in a tiny circle of top authentic-sounding Rockabilly bands. Tof (vox and rhythm guitar), Did (lead guitar), and Axel (double bass) did a superb job with these 13 new and self-penned songs,
The album opens with Gone, She’s Gone, a superb mid-tempo with hillbilly echoes, think Lefty Frizzell, though it remains 100% Rockabilly. It has to be said Tof is an excellent vocalist: he never falls into mannerisms that plague too many singers of the genre but embellishes his singing with a hiccup here, a blue tone there, and always feels relaxed and in total control. I Wanna Bop changes the pace. Let’s say that if Gone She’s Gone took you back to 1954, this one is more 1956. Great frantic vocals and Did jumps in the song with incisive riffs. One of the most challenging things when you play as a trio, is the balance between the instruments; T Becker Trio mastered this art. Did knows when to play, and most importantly, when not to play, making the songs breathe.
Baby Look At Me reconnects with the Hillbilly roots of the genre and shows how the band is attached to melodies and variations. Now that’s songwriting! The bopping fever grips Tof once again with Bop Bop Bop. Behind, ably supported by Axel’s hot and melodic slap bass and Did Burlisonian guitar, which later erupts into a sparkling solo that briefly quotes Cliff Gallup. Cloud 9 has a country-noir feel, with Indian echoes in the melody. This is the perfect example of what I said when I told you that the trio never was happy to give you your run-of-the-mill Rockabilly. I particularly enjoy this one as it tells you a story, not only the singer but the guitar solo too.
Do you want some wild Rockabilly? Don’t look any further, Tell Me is the song for you, hot breaks, frantic vocals and guitar while Axel propels the whole thing. In terms of sound and atmosphere, Both You Can’t Deny and Little Queen are pure Sun Rockabilly, but once again, the songwriting brings slight variations and takes you to unusual places while remaining true to the idiom. I’m a sucker for 50’s ballads and was happy to find Luckiest Guy. Ideally placed on the album just before the home stretch, this lovely song brings a welcome respiration. Me And My Baby is darker and features harmony vocals in the chorus. Do The Boogie is a simple invitation to dance, nothing fancy (except for the twin slap bass/guitar part), but so damn compelling. Back to Sun, but more a Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two mood. But again, they keep Cash’s steady beat and bring the song elsewhere. The album ends on a high note, at least for the listener, because for the poor singer, that girl still doesn’t want to look at him. Seriously, it’s another demonstration of first-rate Rockabilly.
Tof, Did, and Axel prove that you can take a 70-year-old genre and still manage to create something new, original and highly (I mean HIGHLY) entertaining.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis