|20 Years of Highlights & Blackouts, Black Knights
Enviken, EnRec CD 112
The devil himself just sat in a tree at the Hårga Mountain playing rockabilly music, and making people dance until only their skulls remained, that's a well known fact. The year was 1981 and the place Kilafors in Hälsingland (Sweden). Three youngsters Jesse James (16), Dickie Dirtwater (16) and Terrible Tom Powder (14) decided to form a band. They named themselves "The Steelcramphs". They later transformed into "Sneaky Pete & His Hamtrank Home Brewers" and shortly after into the "Black Knights", travelling to their first gigs by train or bus, or Dickie's mother giving them a ride. They've kept the same line up ever since (well, Alf Östlund joined them on accoustic guitar for awhile) and they've kept the same fans all along, allthough the crowd seems to have increased over the years. There's no doubt that the Black Knights today are more popular than ever.
I've known the Black Knights for quite some time now, and I've always looked at them as a mix of teddyboy rock 'n' roll and fifties rockabilly. Indeed they have recorded some highlights, but some blackouts too. This CD is a nice anthology of the band's in and outs over the past 20 years, with five newly recorded songs (September 2001).
"Tom Dooley" and "Goin' Down That Road" were recorded as "Sneaky Pete & His Hamtrank Home Brewers" in 1986. "Opel Olympia" and "Austin 52" were original cassette tape recordings from 1984, not previously issued on any album, and although the sound quality is rather poor, it clearly shows the band's enthusiasm. "Sea Of Heartbreak" was previously only released on 45. An energetic live version of one of my Black Knights favorites "Powder & Dynamite" (from their album "Lost Knights Return") is surely one of the highlights of the album.
I think it was a good idea to release this compilation. It will be a great add-on for fans of the Black Knights, with many hard-to-get and previously unreleased material. For rockabilly lovers who haven't had the pleasure of hearing them before, it's also a pretty nice introduction. 21 tracks (13 Black Knights originals) is surely your money's worth.
Black Knights discography:
Introducing the band:
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Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001