|Bob E. Rock, This is Bob E. Rock |
(No Club Music NCP D-004)
For many of you, Bob E. Rock is a probably a new name on the rockabilly scene, this CD is not his first release though, there has been a 45 in 1986 with "Humes High" b/w "Do You Believe It". These sessions have been in the can for a decade, Tex and Jim have been waitin for just the right time to release it. Both tracks, by the way, are also on this new CD.
Bob's parents are Danish, but Bob was born Virginia, he has lived in Maryland, USA, since childhood. I guess at a particular place and time he met up with the right kinda folks, because the people backing Bob on this CD are definitly not new names. Tex Rubinowitz is a rockabilly legend for sure and his Ripsaw recordings like "Hot Rod Man" and "Bad Boy" are about to become collectors items, if not already.
Bob E. met Tex during the time Tex was playing with the Bad Boys at the Annendale Grill in Annendale, Virginia. Tex invited Bob E. on stage to sing a song - it was Be Bop A Lula - and it was the beginning of an association with Tex that lasted for many years during the 80s. Bob became Tex's bass player and after awhile became separate as Tex's opening act. At the same time, whenever a recording session for Tex was scheduled, time was reserved for a Bob E. session as well. The result is this CD.
And then there is Eddie Angel, a name that needs no introduction. Eddie was on the scene at the same as Tex and he became a close associate of Bob. Eddie's name pops up in the strangest places, but here at NO-CLUB, he is right at home. He played guitar with Tex Rubinowitz and Martha Hull before, and now he's back to make sure that Bob's first CD is gonna be a hit! Bob, Eddie and Tex also wrote all originals songs on this CD, and even though the name on the cover is "This Is Bob E. Rock", it might as well have been "This Is Bob, Eddie and Tex..." Eddie's work in the sessions adds much to the overall star quality of the CD. Many have heard Eddie in the Planet Rockers and Los Straitjackets, but never before as a stellar guitar back-up to a vocalist. Jim Kirk notes: "I hope this release encourages Eddie to do more work behind singers."
The CD is absolutely a must for all rockabilly lovers. If you are new to rockabilly yourself, there are some fine covers of all time greats to lead you into the world of 50s music, and if you have been a die-hard rocker for many years, this CD still might surprise you with beautiful original cuts, great guitar-art by Eddie and a magnificent cool doghouse bass rhythm. As Colin Pryce Jones once stated: "This has got to be what rock 'n' roll is all about!".
Well, let's see what's actually on this album. The opening track "Same Old Cat" is gonna be a classic for sure. If you just listen to the first notes of this song, you know at once why this was chosen as the opener; Evan Johns plucks the strings of his upright bass in a way that immediatly reminds of the ol' Johnny Burnette Trio. Real sharp and clear guitar work by Eddie and the lyrics, written by Eddie Angel, are great too. Scotty keeps up a fast paced rhythm throughout the song and I'm sure you can't sit still either when you hear this awesome track! And this one (as most of the others) has been recorded directly to master. No overdubs, just high class orginal rockabilly.
The second cut "Everybody's Got Somebody" is an original too, written by Bob and Tex. Though at a slightly slower pace, the slapping rhythm really gets to you and Bob's raw voice comes out very clear (is this a contradiction?). Rockabilly the way you want it! "Ditty Bop" (written by Tex and Eddie) is yet another original, with some Gene Vincent influences. Great song, terrific guitar solo (yoh, Eddie!) and Scotty LaFleur hitting the skins as if his life depended on it.
Did I mention Gene Vincent? Right! Next is "Brand New Beat", very well covered. Gene would appreciate this. Number 5, "Do You Believe It" is, again, a Bob E. Rock original, written by Eddie Angel (who also did the backing vocals). It was issued before on NO-CLUB (NCP 7-002). I guess you could call this a ballad, 'cause it's as slow as it gets on this album, but it sure rocks your socks off. "Humes High" (written by Tex and Eddie again) was the A-side of the before mentioned 45 and it has some country influences, but Evan's doghouse bass keeps up the tempo.
Buddy Holly fans, hold on to your pants. There are two of Buddy's classics on this platter and here's the first one; "Modern Don Juan". Very well done. Some more covers coming up, the next one is a Johnny Horton original named "Lover's Rock". Bob's singing is real good, he's got a perfect voice, and Eddie's licks make this the best cover of the song I ever heard.
Now, this next one knocked me right off of my feet. It's Ron Holden's "My Babe". This track is high speed rockabilly all the way, great raw vocals again and Eddie going nuts on the strings. I think Tex can't take all of this, at least I think it's him I hear screaming in the back (Nope, it's Bob says Jim). Definitly my favorite cover! (Scotty, mind your skins!)
I mentioned before that I detected some Burnette brothers' influence and here's one that Johnny, Dorsey and Paul did in the 50s, "Blues Stay Away From Me". I just hate to say this, but I think Eddie's doing a better job here than Paul Burlison (oops..)
"Imagine that" is another Eddie-penned "kind- off-a-ballad", but there are no real ballads on this album, Evan and Scotty just keep up the rhythm. Beautiful lovesong.
And then there's the second Buddy Holly cover, "Ting-A-Ling", in the same high class sound as the first one. Bob E. Rock is getting away with covering some of the best classics ever, and he's doing a real good job, this guy can really sing (and scream, or was that Tex again?).
Number 13. Not a very lucky number and not the best track either (Did you do this on purpose Jim?). "Walking In The Rain" with Louisiana Cajun style accordion backgrounds (by a guy with the stage name Little Red). Sorry Bob, I'll skip this one.. But, he sure makes up for that with the next (and last) song "First In Line", very fast paced and just the way Elvis should have done it (but didn't). This song really rocks!
Actually I'm glad this is the end of the album, I was getting carried away here. Only one thing left to say to you rockabilly cats and kittens: go get this album! It's a must, it has something for everybody; uptempo blues, fast paced country, ballads with a bop, all with a steady, uptempo rockabilly beat and some of the best guitar solos you ever heard. And while you're dreaming of buying it, I'm gonna play "My Babe" once more... Rock It!
The BlackCat, 1999
The Ordinaires are:
Produced by Tex Rubinowitz and Jimmy 'The Kid' Kirk, 1999.