|That's Show Biz, The Lustre Kings
Wild Boar Records CD 2016
The Lustre Kings have a tight, well rehearsed sound and play with a passion and an understanding of the music that other bands seem to lack, Good rock and roll is not just collecting 20 golden oldies and re-recording them, If you don't have a passion for the music, find a real job. I first became aware of the Lustre Kings via a Viva Las Vegas compilation CD, the track was "123 Hang up", I knew I would be hearing more of these guys someday and now I find them on my desk.
After a quick look at the titles and then a look at the writers credits, I knew that some were cover songs and some were originals, it's good to see that the cover songs are not main-stream tracks, so for some of you this will be a first chance at hearing these songs.
The album opens with a solid version of the "Mancini (Pink Panther)" penned tune "The livin' end" and it's great to hear this version in a deeper voice, Scott Engel released this in the late 50's on Orbit (506) and sadly for Scott his vocal is boyish by comparison.
Track 2 is a cover of the B side of Billy Harlan's Brunswick single "School House Rock" from 1958 called "I Wanna Bop". The Lustre Kings take this track at a slightly slower pace and give it a "Peter Gunn" feel, the result is Bluesy. "I Won't Take No" is a great show-case tune and I bet it get's a great reaction at live gigs, this is a well crafted song and it points out the "feeling" that the boys have for the music.
"You Don't Call" is unknown to me but it blew me away, this song would not be out of place on a Credence record when that band was headlining, It would appear that someone has listened to some CCR and the harmonica work is brilliant. "Set You Free" Great track, shades of Jerry Lee in a subtle way, this is a good rockin' country track that I will listen too more than once.
"No One Left To Turn To" is a complete change of pace, a bluesy track, that whilst it is a good track I feel it's placement seems to break up the "Party" feel that the album has so far been, maybe this one should have been placed last as a Bonus Track? "Quarter to Two" hmmmm this sounds familiar, I listen to this track and my mind wants to sing these words "I just read your letter baby, too bad you won't come home" a bit of "Mess of Blues" I think?
"Maybe Little Baby" A great driving version of the George Jones tune, this is what it's all about and I feel this sort of material is the strength of the Lustre Kings. "Fishin With Spam" sorry guys I hated this, the megaphone vocal spoils it for me. "Little Baby" The best part of hearing a cover song is when you can forget the original, as much as I love Buddy Holly, This is now the version I will be playing, great job.
Skipping right down to the last track and the title of the album, "That's Show Biz", this was a novelty record for Dale Wright in '59 and the company he spoke to on the phone was "No Hit records", well the tune is still a novelty but I feel that this album will be a hit. I give this 4 stars and they are 4 BIG stars...
Reviewed by CancerMan Mark
The Gretsch-toting Gamsjager draws from a deeper well than most roots rock acts, giving his music a breadth and depth in addition to keeping the bar hopping and the dance floor filled.
The Lustre Kings' new long-player "That's Showbiz" (Wild Boar Productions) is their third and finest effort, surveying songs from Buddy Holly, David Bromberg and Clay Blaker as well as pianist Jeff Potter and longtime cohort Steven Clyde Davies. "Showbiz" reflects a tight, killer sound developed by playing over 150 dates a year at clubs, concerts and festivals.
"Gamsjager remembers when "rock 'n' roll" actually used to signify something," raved The Beat about the Lustre Kings' live show, "and his band sounds like it just left Sun Studios yesterday."
The group's righteous Cacophone debut album, "Mark Gamsjager Rocks & The Lustre Kings Roll," was a travelogue of great American rock and roll, with tunes from legends like Gene Vincent and Ronnie Self, as well as from contemporaries like Commander Cody's Billy C. Farlow and Los Straitjackets’ Eddie Angel.
Amazon.com's Stephen Prisco called the record a keeper, saying "While most rockabilly bands seem to be content with just recreating the sound of classic records from years ago, The Lustre Kings have captured the spirit of that era, tapping into what made those records and artists so great in the first place."
The Lustre Kings’ sophomore effort, "Once a King, Always a King," upped the ante with even more "hot boppin’ rockabilly action," prompting the Berkshire Eagle to proclaim "The Lustre Kings dig deep into early rock and related styles, steering away from a greatest-hits oldies approach, preferring to connect the dots among such unlikely musical bedfellows as Conway Twitty, Peanuts Wilson, Link Wray and Duke Ellington (they even render a surf-guitar version of the Duke’s "Caravan")."
The Lustre Kings have a devoted nationwide fan base and they continue to tear up the road every year, performing regularly at events like Nevada's annual Viva Las Vegas Festival and haunts like the famed Continental Club (Austin TX), Dinosaur BBQ (Syracuse & Rochester NY), The Sutler (Nashville TN), The Starr Bar (Atlanta GA), The Hi-Tone (Memphis TN), Schuba’s Tavern (Chicago IL), The Charles Playhouse (Boston MA) and, of course, the Mid-City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl (New Orleans LA).
Creative Loafing got it right when they said "The Lustre Kings have a sound so powerful it leaves listeners hungry for more."
The Lustre Kings