|"I've Got The Cure" reviewed by The BlackCat|
There are artists who play strictly 50s style rockabilly and there are those who play modern rock 'n' roll. Now here's a man who puts 40 years of experience and musical influences into his music. This CD is a mixture of rockabilly, country-rock, surf and blues, but overall it's just plain rock 'n' roll. Just the way I like it. Some influencial names that come to mind when I listen to this CD are Link Wray, Billy Lee Riley, Eagles, John Lee Hooker... All names that were part of musical history over the past four decennia. There are eleven tracks on this modern masterpiece, seven of which are Fender Benders originals.
The CD starts off with a countryrock song "Dr. Brown" to get you in the mood, with darn good vocals and a raving lead guitar, a superb sound that really blasts into your living room. Just turn up the volume real loud when you play this track. The second track, "All Cried Out" is the very one that reminded me of some early Eagles' songs. Maybe because of the accoustic guitar, the vocal ensemble or Richie Mitchell's driving bass. A good, slow paced, yet powerfull song. Anton Fig turns out to be a real hard hitter, the way he pounds his drums. Background vocals by The Orioles.
Are you all warmed up? Here's some hot instrumental rock 'n' roll for ya! "Savage" is all the title promises, hot Link Wray style guitar-action and great stereo effects on the drums. Awesome track! You really need to cool off after this one and that's just what you can do listening to "Tossing Stones", a neat country rockballad.
"Nothing I Can Call Mine" is something completely different. A true tribute to the blues, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Billy Lee Riley, maybe even some Bob Dylan influences. Just another great track that fits perfectly in the variety of styles on this CD. Cool harmonica by Kemp Lorraine. And just when you think you've heard it all, here comes the old Link Wary original "Run Chicken Run", a guitar instrumental that has been a favorite of mine for years. Not just another cover, but a real piece of work. If you like your music a little rough around the edges, this one is for you.
"I Only Had Fifty Cents" is a kind of truck-driving country song with John playing the dobro. A song that has a story to tell. Again, something else. You will never get bored listening to this CD, that's for sure. Fantastic lead guitar solos. Now let's rock 'n' roll some more, "Eyes Afire" is another fast paced rock song with some cool doo-wop-wop background vocals. Nice combination, who said rock 'n' roll is dead?
Next, a well known Elvis Presley song penned by Leiber & Stoller (a little typo on the cd-cover here) "Love Me". I must say that the overall lay-out of the tracks is done very well, the way rock 'n' roll and ballads are mixed is very good. But we're not done yet, fire up your Harley and start looking for some action in "Roadway Bruiser", a mid-paced highway song with a cool blues-guitar.
And last but not least, here's another Link Wray original. Very good cover of Link's well known 1958 hit "Rumble". Modern sound, old style, you'll love it! And again Anton Fig is really trying very hard to wreck his drumset, awesome sound!
And then there was silence. After 40 minutes of solid sound, the quietness hurts my ears. I think I'm gonna play this cd again.. and again.. John Van Horn has earned his place among legends during his musical carreer, and with this issue he proves that he can still rock your socks off! Go get it! My favorite track? Try "Savage" on for size!
The Fender Benders are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, April 1999