Cool Tall Girl, Johnny Loda & The Echorecs
Part Records, PART-CD 675.001

The history of the Italian Johnny Loda goes back a long time. He started playing the guitar when he was eight years old. First studying classical music until the death of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Johnny's mother bought an LP of Elvis, The Rockin' Days, and little Johnny was hooked on Rock and Roll music, it became a part of nature. In 1982, as a sixteen year old Rockabilly guitarist and singer, he had his first band, Nervous Kids and the Thunderbolts. After military service in 1986, he made up the Rockin Rebels and played all over Italy on important 50's festivals and period dedicated meetings. They played until 1992 and earned great succes from the audience and get very good critics from the musical criticism. After the Rockin Rebels, Johnny, his pianoplayer and his bassman started the Silverjacks. They played Swing, Rock and Roll and Jump and Jive and did this for about ten years, Johnny first as a guitarist, but later also as a singer. He recorded his first longplayer in 1997, Breakfast on the Moon, and took part in many festivals both in Italy and abroad. After several rockin years, Johnny heard a voice in his head saying Rockabilly is the way to go! A music style he fell in love with many years ago. He started to play in a trio, which became the band "Aces Trio". Instruments used were ofcourse the three fixed elements of authentic Rockabilly: Lead guitar, Upright Bass and Drums. Johhny's plan was to go solo and collaborate with different artists from the Italian Rockabilly scene. He also starting to use his stage name "Johnny Loda". Loda is short for "Luminoso Ordine Degli Autentici (Luminous order of the authentics). By the way, Johnny's real name is Ettore Chiavinato. In 2004 Johhny recorded his first full size CD "That's Me!" This Cd was a great succes and well appreciated by the audience and critics. The same critics even defined Johnny Loda as one of the best Rockabilly and Rock n Roll guitar players of Italy and Europe. In that same year Johnny found his two "missing fixed elements" for his new musical project. The two were Matteo "the Babbaiù" Rorato on Double Bass and Severino "Tommy" Tomasella on the drums. This new trio called themselfs "Johnny Loda & the Echorecs". Together they performe in Italy and the rest of Europe and made a reputation as remarkable musicians and histrionic showmen. They entered the studio late 2007 and recorded a full length CD titled "Cool Tall Girl", 17 songs of which 9 are written by Johnny Loda. A point to notice, Mr. Luca "Rockin' Eddie" Balboni was the sound engineer for this CD. He was one of the founders of the Italian Rockabilly Revival way back in those days, so it was in good hands! And... by some lucky chance, I have this latest CD in front of me and I'm curious enough to give it a spin!

First I must say that I think that this CD is not good old authentic Rockabilly, but more as we say mainstream Rock and Roll. It starts off with "Cool Tall Girl" the titlesong. Good melodic Rock 'n' Roll, the first of nine selfspenned songs. I hear a little touch of Buddy Holly in it. Somewhat more a Rockabilly tune is "Sick And Tired". This one has a very nice Slappin' Bass part! It's sounds like the Doors with Baby Please Don't Go, but it goes another way... "You Are In My Every Dreams", a really 1950's balad, nice song. Track number four brings us by Del Shannon's "Runaway". Good cover of the original, with even that characteristic organ in it! Pretty well made. "Motel Signs" begins just as Twenty Flight Rock by Eddie Cochran, but again it's sets us in the wrong direction. Next on with "The Devil Ain't Got My Soul", this is mid-tempo rocker, complete with piano, no new things here. "No Regrets" leans towards Hillbilly, with it's piano and pedal steel guitar. Over to track eight: "Night Rider", covered from Bryant and West. I find this a very nicely done instrumental, a really great job on this one!

"Black Lead Sled" reminded me of a song I heard before, but I couldn't find out which one. After I've heared this one for the third time I thought of All I Can Do Is Cry of Wayne Walker, I think I'm right... Pure Rock 'n' Roll again with "Fishing And Hunting", followed up by a fun cover: "Baby I'm Drunk". Originally of the Reverend Horton Heat. Sounds great. A ballad that brings us "Up A Lazy River" gives us listeners the feeling that these boys can play some great music. This feeling goes on "Beat Out My Love", a Rocker with nice pianoplay and a Surf stance with it. Also a nice cover from Hancock is "87 Southbound", which is followed by a well known song (I think) from Johnny Burnette, this is called "Warm Love". By the last cover on this album is thought of all the Trainabillys in the form of "Agony Wagon", complete with rusty rails!

There is one track left on this CD: "JTB Special". Selfpenned instrumental, which is great for our bass and guitar lovers. Well you might think that this was the last track, but these gentlemen have a nice surprise for us: a real fingerpickin' guitar Surf instrumental!! And that after a 40 second complete silence at the end of JTB Special... So, let your CD player roll out! A CD with less Rockabilly as I expected but with a lot of surprices in music choices. I had fun with it!

Johnny Loda & the Echorecs are:
Ettore "Johnny Loda" Chiavinato - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Ukelele
Matteo "The Babbaiù" Rorato - Double Bass, Electric Bass, Vocals
Severino "Tommy" Tomasella - Drums, Vocals

Guest musicians are:
Luca Balboni - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Farfisa, Hammond Keyboards
Piero "Perry" Balleggi - Piano, Accordeon
Paolo Portinari - Pedal Steel Guitar

Band Info: 

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Part Records
Wiesenstrasse 6
69190 Walldorf

Reviewed by Rockin' Kees, 2008