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Las Pistolas – Deadly Combination

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews

laspistolasWestern Star WSCR048 [2011]
Pistol Packin’ Peggy Sue – Rhythm In My Soul – The Cinnamon Kid – She’ll Rock Your World – Jump Start – Rock Around With Ollie Vee – Jessica Rabbit – Liquor and Las Pistolas – Don’t Shut Me Out – The Return of Eddie Sin – Lost It All – Sunday Lover – Black Widow – Lady Luck – Sad But True

Las Pistolas are a modern rockabilly trio (guitar, slap bass, drums), and though they already had a cd ep out (on Raucous I guess) Deadly Combination is their first full length featuring 13 originals and only two covers. The opening track, a My Baby Left Me/That’s Allright type of rockabilly, didn’t impress me that much: good but not very original. Things went drastically better with “I’ve Got Rhythm In My Soul”, a hot boppin’ neo-rockabilly number. The rest of the records confirmed that the first song was just an exception. The main core of their music is rockabilly with a modern twist and melodies. But one will also find a western tinged ballad (Cinnamon Kid) and some wild numbers with saxophones (She’ll Rock Your World and the excellent Jessica Rabbit that features a honkin’ Las vegas solo at the end). Liquor and Las Pistolas is a Diddley beat blues with harmonica, tambourine, maracas, distortion on the voice and slide guitar. If you like Wild Billy Childish this one is for you (I only regret they don’t do more in that style). Like any decent rock’n’roll record, Deadly Combination features a nice ballad. This one is called “Lost It All” and even features Alan Wilson on piano. The playing is great, the solos are inventive and the recording as usual with Western Star is top notch. Strongly recommended.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Rockin’ Rocket 88

in Albums/Contemporary artists/R/Reviews

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

Bonneville Barons (the)

in AB/Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews
the Bonneville Barons - Cure What Ails You
the Bonneville Barons – Cure What Ails You

Bonneville Barons (the) – Cure What Ails You

Western Star Records – WSRC036
Pretty Penny – Long Distance Baby – Heart O Mine – Family Tree Rag – Forget Me – Broken Man – Wait For Me – Fool For You – Whale Tail – Beautiful Memory Of Mine – Unlucky Blues – Mexican Wildfire – Birmingham Jail

One of today’s best and most original band returns with a 13 track killer album. It kicks off with “Pretty Penny”, written like the other 12 songs by Chris Wilkinson; a great jazzabilly number with clever lyrics that could come from the pen of Sage Guyton. “Unlucky Blues” comes in a similar vein. “Long Distance Baby” sees the dynamic duo with a fiddle for a full western flavour and features nice yodel too. “Heart Of Mine” can be described as Buddy Holly meets the Hot Club Of Cowtown. Yann’s powerful slap bass has nothing to envy to Jake Erwin or Kevin Smith. “Family Tree Rag” is a bith smoother and features a nice Merle Travis guitar part. Mark Kemlo of Rimshots and Bill Fadden fame guests on drums on “Forget Me” a wild rockabilly number with pounding drums, heavy guitar and distorted voice. Woa ! Kemlo is also present on the powerful rockin’ Mariachi instrumental “Mexican Wildfire” with trumpet. “Broken Man” is another occasion to hear the way their voices and instruments perfectly blend together. “Wait For Me”, a slow and mellow number with sparse backing is another side of Wilkinson’s talent as a songwriter and a singer. “Birmingham Jail” is in the same style, but the song sounds like a XVIIIth century traditionnal tune. “Fool For You” is pure Boneville Barons style : solid slap bass, catchy melody, good guitar riff and fine vocals.
The production work is fantastic : clean but not sterile, and the booklet, that includes the lyrics, is very well designed. The result is a must have record in a beautiful object.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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