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