Rockin' Rocket 88

Leroy and the Rockets

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Leroy and the Rockets
Leroy and the Rockets

Leroy and the Rockets
Rockabilly Rollercoaster

Prestige Elite Records CDSGP 1313 [2012]
Challenge – Dianne And The Gypsy Queen – The Old Man Is Down The Road – Swordfish – Memphis, Tennessee – Goin’ To Chicago – Remember Me – Summertime Blues – It’s All About Me – That’s Life – Livin’ This Way – Dangerous Man – Shaking All Over – Witchcraft – Love Roulette – Strange Business – When You Were Mine – Zippin’ Pippin – Bad Moon Rising – Mars Attacks (Venus)

Rockin’ Rocket 88 has lived, here comes Leroy & the Rockets. But if the name changed, the line-up and the quality remain the same. There’s just a slight evolution in the sound, something like a more modern approach. Of course this is still roots oriented music, mostly rockabilly but with elements of blues (Goin’ To Chicago), hillbilly (Memphis Tennessee and Summertime Blues with a fiddle) and obvious references to the pioneers like Elvis (Dianne and the Gypsy Queen) or Johnny Cash (Remember Me). But they really aim to create a brand of music for the 21st century. To achieve their vision they asked Stevie Paul to produce the album. Paul is as far as you can imagine from the Rockabilly world having worked with Rod Stewart, Mary J Blige, Toni Braxton, Edwin Starr, Mike & the Mechanics to name but a few. His fresh approach mixed with the band’s background results in a brand new sound: something like a mix between the Blue Cats from the Tunnel era and Chris Isaak’s rockingest material.
With artists as Kitty Daisy and Lewis or Imelda May touching a large audience, it would be justice that a band which plays this music for more than 25 years, even if it was under another name, obtains a little recognition.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Enregistrer

Rockin’ Rocket 88

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rocket88countryRockin’ Rocket 88 – Country

Western Star WSRC 030 [2009]
Thinkin ‘Bout You – Good Morning Judge – Susan When She Tried – The Storm – Sanity – Want You To Be My Gal – The Measure Is The Pleasure – Animal Instinct – Heart of Stone – Sittin’ Down Boogie – Rocket 88 – Bustin’ Loose – Sittin’ Down Boogie Blues

Rockin’ Rocket 88 are in the circuit for some times now. «Country» is their latest release and has been recorded at Alan Wilson’s Western Star studio.
They play good old rockabilly music mixed with a touch of neo-rockabilly with a hillbilly flavor added by the fiddle. The result is very original, but that wouldn’t be enough to be original, it’s also very convincing. Singer Leroy bradley shares more than his name with the singer of the Blue Cats, he also has the same kind of voice which makes him at ease with rockin’ numbers and ballads and allows him to sing Elvis’ Susan When She Tried.
The musicians are all excellent and I especially dig Matt Linton Smith’s fiddle. Played at a manic pace it adds a Ray Condo and the Hardrock Goners feel to some of the songs. “The Storm” is a wild neo-rockabilly number that reinforces the comparison with the Blue Cats (Fight Back era). “Sanity” is a classic rockabilly number with stop/start arrangements. You can appreciate the sound of the acoustic rhythm guitar. Western Star recordings are always top notch, especially the mix that never buries the instruments behind too much echo or recording tricks. “I Want You To Be My Gal” is a rockin’ blues number with harmonica and reminiscent of “That’s All Right”. “Measure Is The Pleasure” with its Buddy holly feel is one of my favorites here quickly followed by “Animal Instinct”, one of those haunting mid tempoes enlivened by the fiddle on which Leroy’s voice shines. “Hear Of Stone” shows the hillbilly side of the band with harmony vocals. Still on the country side it’s time to dance the “Sittin Down Boogie ” with the boys. With such a name they had no choice but covering the old Jacky Breston classic and they manage to make it original with a latin feel in it. “Dustin’ Loose” is a neo-rockabilly tune with a great and distorded guitar part. The album ends with a Chicago blues reprise of “Sittin’ Down’ Boogie”.
Great album, warmly recommended.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis