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Caroline Casey

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Caroline Casey & her Stringslingers – This Broken Crown

Caroline Casey

ElToro ETCD3022

Caroline Casey is the second “half” of the Casey Sisters, a rock’n’roll-rockabilly band that released two albums on the Tail label. She makes her solo debut with this album on the Spanish label El Toro.

While her ex-partner in crime Lil’ Rachel chose a Rhythm’n’Blues way (check her two fantastic albums, also on ElToro), Caroline, backed by the always excellent Lazy Jumpers, offers here a fine late 50’s/early 60’s honky tonk/Bakersfield album full of steel guitar (and dobro too), fiddle, twangy guitars and country shuffles on which she wrote every songs but four. Her strong and powerfull (and beautiful) voice perfectly fits the genre.

Of course you’re in well known territories but it never sounds artificial, repetitive or “cliché”. There are plenty of slight variations that make the album enjoyable from start to finish. “Little Pink Mack” has a truck driver song vibe in it and it makes you dream about a duet with Chris “Sugarball” Sprague. “Used Wedding Ring” is a poignant waltz written by Al Urban. “Treshold” changes the pace and brings a slight touch of Tex-mex with trumpets and castagnets. Another highlight is “Six Empty Bottles” in the vein of “Heartaches By The Number”. You’ll find a western swing touch with “That Kiss Is There” an uptempo number with excellent piano and fiddle while “Dark Of Night” adds a touch of gospel and “Texas Boogie” closes the album with… a boogie.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rocky Burnette

in Contemporary artists/Reviews
Rocky Burnette

Rocky Burnette – Wampus Cat


El Toro Records

Wampus Cat – Streamliner – Please Don’t Leave Me – Riding On a Rocket – Why Go Home? – Why U Been Gone So Long – Crazy Legs – Que Lastima – I Love You So – Next Train – Dinchu – Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – You Never Know – Rock Therapy

To be the son of a legend like Johnny Burnette is surely not an easy thing when you decide to play rockabilly. If the son of Picasso was a painter, the comparison would be inevitable. But Rocky Burnette (the kid wearing diaper on the cover that’s him!) has enough experience and talent and is not trapped by this heritage, and where some would have been happy to carry on with the name and be just copycats, he proposes something new and personnal.

The Lazy Jumpers (a talented band whether they play for their own records or back others) provide the perfect backing for his kind of modern rockabilly/blues and they also wrote a couple of originals (as did Rocky too). And even if you find cover of his illustrious family, they are rearranged. “Please Don’t Leave Me” gets back to its original roots in this bluesy version and “I Love You So” features an organ. The rest reflects varied inspiration : hillbilly and bluegrass with banjo and mandolin (You Never Know), Texas rockabilly ala Buddy Holly (Streamliner), neo-rockabilly that sounds like an unreleased cut from the Space Cadets (Riding On A Rocket) with a quote of Rock-Billy Boogie when the song fades out, and Que Latima is a latin instrumental (after all the band and the label are Spanish).

Of course you have plenty of Rockabilly Bop (it’s in the blood) like “Dinchus” and “Next Train”. As a bonus, Rocky’s daughter, Chanti Teresa Burnette, covers Rock Therapy. Although her version is good, she plays on the same ground as her grandfather and she inevitably suffers the comparison with him. Despite this minor point, this is a very good and eclectic album.

Available at El Toro


Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Domino’s (the)

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
Domino's

Domino’s (the) – It Don’t Mean A Thing

El Toro records – ETCD 6097

It Don’t Mean A Thing – I Can’t Be Satisfied – Flyin To The Station Gate – Minor Swing – The Messaround – The Train With A Rhumba Beat – Cuckoo Girl – Trapped In A Web Of Love – Cannonball Rag – It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie – Why Don‘t You – Je Suis Swing – Tornado – Everybody Said – Rhythm In My Bones

Patrick Ouchene formed the Domino’s in 1989. The band first started mainly as a rockabilly combo and released their debut album for Rockhouse records in Netherland. By their second album as their tastes changed, their sound evolved covering a wider range of roots music.
This best of is basically their “Minor Things” album (released on Big Bang Records) with a couple of bonus tracks.

To be honest, Duke Ellington’s is not the best song to start with. Ouchene’s vocals is a bit too much but the solist are hot. By the second song, Muddy Water’s Cant Be Satisfied, things get way better. From that point, the whole set range from swing (Django’s Minor Swing), Rhythm and Blues (Mess Around), Rock’n’roll (Rhythm in My Bones), French Zazou music (Johnny Hess’ je suis Swing) and of course Rockabilly (Why Don’t You,  Tornado) without forgetting a fine cover of Johnny Horton’s the Train with the Rumba Beat.
The band benefits of the service of a hot rhythm section (it can, featuring Jack fire of the Wild Ones), a solid lead guitar (and some steel too) and most of all, the band secret weapon in the person of Bernard Vancraeynest  who not happy to arrange some of the songs plays violin, cello, piano and saxophones.
All in all a very pleasant album that I was happy to rediscover with this best-of (and I encourage you to do the same).

Available here.

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