|Always Wild, The Chop Tops|
Rollin' Rock CD-108
Rockin' Ronny was pleasantly surprised when he saw The Chop Tops at Legend's Lounge for the Battle of the Bands show, organized by "Kats Like Us." Winning this contest ensured The Chop Tops a contract with Rollin' Rock and Ronny was happy sign such a great new band. Variety is what this CD is all albout, from New Orleans Big Beat to Blue Grass, from Rockabilly to Jump Blues, handled effortlessly, always delivering a stompin' beat.
The above are excerpts from the linernotes of the Chop Tops' CD "Always Wild", written by Ronny, that I wanted to share with you. But more important is the music on this extraordinary release. The first track, titled "Shelby's Shuffle" is a big beat instrumental that lasts almost five minutes. Since us rockabilly fans are used to two-minute tracks, you might expect that a five-minute instrumental would most likely be boring, but believe me, nothing is less true than that. Rocking and swinging from start to end, great saxophone and guitar breaks to a steady slappin' beat. A hell of an opener.
"My Last Ride" and "Blues, Blues, Blues" show another face of The Chop Tops, hard driving California Rockabilly. "It Won't Be Long" has more country influences, still with a rockabilly beat, that remind of the tell-tale stories of Marty Robbins. Again with great guitar breaks that sound very different on every track. "Joker's Always Wild" displays the vocal potential of Gary Marsh and has a refreshing piano break by guest musician Sean Spurr. So far all tracks were Chop Top originals, but here's a cover of The Clovers' "Get Outta The Car," and the saxophone's back, played by another guest Jim Hannibal. Next a few more rockabilly tracks (I'll skip some titles here, I don't wanna bore you with too many "great" and "beautiful" statements :)) "Too Late" is a ballad, a cool break in the middle of the show, with Gary showing off his vocal capabilities again. And then, let's slap it! "Let 'er Go" hits off with a fabulous upright bass intro that I'm sure you rockabilly folks will appreciate.
"Someday Driver" has a bit of everything, big band, rockabilly, blues. Variety is the Chop Tops' keyword, and rocking is their business. More rockabilly in "Only One Woman", followed by a bit of Blue Grass in "Fire On The Water" and one more smooth ballad titled "Vegas Lights". Last but not least; "The Sicilian". An awesome mix of traditional surf, modern guitar instro and hot rockabilly, blended with something that sounds like Cossack folk music. A stange mix, but a good one, and very original. This Rollin' Rock release offers something for everyone and it's surely exciting from one to sixteen.
Gary Marsh, Formerly of "Sinner and the V-8's" and Brian Berman have known each other since childhood. Together they have played Rockabilly music for the past 5 years. Gary and Brian both have tried a range of other musical styles, only to return to what came naturally; rockabilly music! The two of them teamed up next to Drew Pinney, former drummer of the "Haywoods," who was seeking a revved up rockabilly band. He shared the same passion for a frantic rockabilly beat and became the band's drummer. Finally, slap-bassist Dylan Cavaliere, of the Austin, Texas Rockabilly combo the "American Standards", heard The Chop Tops on their website. He contacted the band, moved to Santa Cruz, California, and was quickly welcomed (with his dynamic slapping style) as the band's bassist.
The BlackCat, 2000
Always Rollin' The Rock, Rockin' Ronny Weiser