|Cross The Line, Paul Galaxy & The Galactix|
Rollin' Rock CD 113, 2001
Rockabilly is what we usually write about. Rockabilly is the root of many musical mainstreams of these days, although the roots of rockabilly itself can be found in hillbilly, blues and jazz music. Most of the time it's very difficult to describe a certain music style, because usually it was influenced by many other styles, and what you end up with is a melting pot of black and white roots, mixed with new techniques and ideas. One of those styles that evolved in the late fifties and early sixties is surf music, and even within surf there are many different streams, like vocal harmonies (Beach Boys, Jan & Dean), guitar instrumentals (Ventures, Dick Dale), and the modern day surf rock (Los Straitjackets, Sandblasters). In instrumental surf(rock) you will often find yet another influence, namely Spanish guitar folk music, which easily found it's way from Mexico to the beaches of California, to Denver, Colorado, where this band hails from.
Rollin' Rock Records - originally from California, but now residing in Las Vegas, Nevada - is a rockabilly label. At least it was up till now. Rollin' Rock has extended their boundaries and is introducing a mix of rockabilly and surf music with their new release of Paul Galaxy & The Galactix titled "Cross The Line". The name implies that this band is a straight forward surf band, but it's definitly not, because the album hits off with a strong rockabilly bopper titled "Pretty Kitty", with no surf influnences whatsoever. This changes all of a sudden with the country style rocker "Desert Air", which does have specific surf instros, followed by the instrumental "Man O' War". This is what I call a damn good build up, moving from rockabilly to surf over a stretch of three songs. Track four takes you right back again to the rockabilly roots with some real gone slapp bass on "Bad Girl".
"Cross The Line" is the title song of this album, and it contains all of the above; a steady rocking beat, surflike guitar instros and superb vocals. This is indeed "crossing the line" and extending boundaries. "Night Crawler" is the same tempo and style, but without the vocals. "Bottle Of Mine" is where the afore mentioned Spanish influences come in. It's at a somewhat slower pace, but I don't think you would call it a ballad. "Tailfin" had the shivers go up and down my spine in it's first 7 seconds, a Dick Dale intro, hard knocking drums and Ventures' style guitar riffs. Back to rockabilly with "Takin' Too Long", but the lead guitar exposes the surf background of the band. "Orbit" is another instrumental, but because of it's rather slow pace, it loses the surf and rockabilly passions we heard before. Not entirely my style.
Back on the rockabilly track with "Don't Stop", followed by an instrumental mix of rockabilly and surf in "Fat Bottom Girls". "Morning Glory" is straight forward rockabilly for the true rock 'n' roll fan and the closer "Hot Tamel 2" is where all hell breaks loose. Spanish accoustic folk, played on high tension electric strings, which goes to show how much surf music was influenced by Mexican sources. Not for everybody's taste, but pretty well done all the same.
This album is (a lot) different from any other Rollin' Rock album in your collection. Nevertheless, this collection, with 12 original self-penned tracks, is a must for every rockabilly AND surf music fan. If Ronny Weiser can expand his boundaries, why can't you? Go for it!
Ronny Weiser comments: "From the very beginning I always tried to cover a wide spectrum of American music on Rollin' Rock: Chuck Higgins' type jump blues, hillbilly, country, doo wop, boogie woogie, swing, etc., and some of the Johnny Legend stuff might have bordered on 'surf', but Paul's CD obviously has the strongest surf influence yet."
Introducing the band:
Road Dawg Touring (Doug Tackett)
Always Rollin' The Rock, Rockin' Ronny Weiser
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001