|Godforsaken Land, Johnny Loda Trio
Part Records PART-CD 675.002
Well, here's Johnny Loda again after a while, his last CD was from 2008 (Johnny Loda & The Echorecs), so he's had some time to work on this one. Not quite as long as you might think, because (as it says on the label) this album was recorded in 2012. There have been a few issues with the record label, but finally I have this brand new platter on my desk. I'm not going into Johnny's biographical history, because it has been written down before more than once, so if you're interested in that, continue reading <<here>>
This CD was recorded by Luca Balboni in Italy and mixed in the U.S.A. at Rick Miller's Kudzu Ranch Recorders. There were a few more people involved, which is all nicely documented on the back cover. There's also a 12 page booklet included with lotsa lyrics and background information. Smart looking package!
Now let's play the music...
"Holiday" is the first of many orginal songs on this album, with a driving rhythm and great guitar riffs, followed by "Hotrod Café" in the same mood. Next is Joe Maphis' instrumental "The Rockin' Gipsy". Playing like Joe Maphis is not an easy task, but you can leave it up to Johnny to have you stunned after listening to his rendition.
"It's Always A Sunny Day" slows down the pace a bit, and it uses pedal steel. Not my cup of tea. Johnny also takes on Carl Perkins' "Her Love Rubbed Off". I always liked Darrel Higham's version of this song, the vocals are a lot wilder than Johnny's, but still I can appreciate Johnny's darker voiced recording as well.
The biker song "Godforsaken Land" is so fast that I had to read the lyrics from the booklet to keep up with Johnny's singing. Great guitar again, man this boy is quick! After this song you definitely need to catch your breath, but instead of slowing down Johnny takes out his Harley Davidson FXR 1340 and just keeps on going.
"There Was A Time" was written by Johnny, but it could as well have been a Marty Robbins song. It gives you the feeling you're watching an old John Wayne western movie. The steel guitar in the background has a spooky sound, kinda like you're in a desert ghost town. Another selfpenned song is the instrumental "BBQ Ribs Party", which made me think of Larrie Collins, who on his turn got it from Joe Maphis of course.
Now here comes another cover version of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues", as if we didn't have enough of that already. But no, Johnny does it in a totally different style. The opening licks sound more like Duane Eddy's "Peter Gunn". Minor changes in the melody and more Duane Eddy style guitar makes this quite a different song. Cool!
"Tribute Bands" with a powerfull rockabilly rhythm and a touch of distortion in the guitar amp makes it sound rough and wild. It reminds me of Eddie Angel when he was playing with the Planet Rockers. This could well be my favorite songs on this album. Or maybe not... "Surfin' Cowboys" is also very good. I can't seem to make up my mind :-)
I'll skip "Marina", too much country pop, and way too much pedal steel. But the last song, a cover of Wanda Jackson's "Funnel Of Love", is a lot of fun, with changing rhythms and catchy eery guitar sounds. I like it.
Well, It's not all straight rockabilly and rock 'n' roll, Johnny's music has a lot of country & western and surf influences, but it's his own style and I like it! Johnny Loda commented in an e-mail: "in my opinion, this one is my best and more mature recordings", and I think he's right! Job well done.
The Johnny Loda Trio are:
Guest musician: Paolo Portinari - Pedal Steel Guitar
Kudzu Ranch Recorders
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2014