7th St. Breakdown b/w Checkmate, Ashley Kingman
Buckshot Records (BUCK-7801, 78 RPM)

I never thought I'd be writing a review about a BRAND NEW 78rpm recording featuring an electric mandolin... but here I am, doing just that!

I ran into my buddy Ashley Kingman (aka The Man With The Magnatone) last night, as usual playing guitar with Big Sandy & The Fly Rite Boys, as he has for the past twenty years. We got to hang out a bit before the show, and he was showing me his vintage Kay electric mandolin. He was also telling me that he recorded a 78rpm record with it... and you could tell he was excited about it!

As I was getting ready to leave for the night, Ashley stopped me and wanted to make sure he gave me a copy of this new 78. I wasn't 100% sure if my turntable could play such a critter, so he also gave me a download card for it as well (welcome to the 21st century!). When I got home, I was able to give it a listen and let me tell you... it's a killer!

Side A is a slick instrumental called 7th St. Breakdown, and let me tell you, it's some smoking hillbilly boogie. Kingman peels out some burning riffs on both guitar and electric mandolin and you can tell he's having a blast. In fact, some of the electric mandolin riffs just sound impossible... but Kingman knocks `em out! 7th St. Breakdown sounds almost familiar, like a long lost gem from the early 50s, but it was written by Kingman and C. Control. The rhythm section of fellow Fly Rite Boy Kevin Stewart on upright bass and Ricky McCann on drums, bop this song into overdrive, laying down the perfect foundation for this catchy little number. Expertly recorded, you'd swear it was from the 50s. Hearing it on a 78... well, dang if it's not like 1952 but with a better sound system!

Side B is more of the same, but more rockin'. Another instrumental, titled Checkmate, starts out with the aforementioned electric mandolin. Now if you're anything like me, you might not have ever thought of using a mandolin for a lead/solo instrument in a rock and roll song, but here it is and it does the job well! Sure, there were some rockin' hillbilly songs in the 50s that had mandolin, but none quite like this. Another bopper, you'll probably want to pop these tracks onto a disc or a mix tape to keep in the car... they're both movers!

Did I mention that this is a 78rpm vinyl record? Did I mention that it's pressed in RED vinyl? Did I mention that this is one of the coolest things I've heard in a while? If not, I apologize... because it's all of the above and more! Go get yourself a copy! If your turntable doesn't play 78s, then you have 2 choices: get a new turntable (because let's face it, vinyl is cool!) OR... you can download these songs. Either way, you'll get to hear some rippin', rockin', hillbilly boppin' riffs... and on electric mandolin to boot!

Ashley Kingman - Guitars, Electric Mandolin
Kevin Stewart - Bass On 7Th St. Breakdown
Jeff West - Bass On Checkmate
Ricky Mccann - Drums On 7Th St. Breakdown
Joe Perez - Drums On Checkmate
Ramblin' James - Rhythm Guitar On Checkmate

Also check out:
Guitar Blasters Vol. 1, Ashley Kingman


Reviewed by Memphis Mike, 2013