|Shake It Don't Break It, Mario Bradley
Fury Records, FCD3063
Born in co. Galway, Irish Republic, Mario Bradley had the feel for his music at a very early age, when his dad gave him his first rock and roll LP. By the age of 17, he was playing the double bass and this led him to play with various bands including The Marvels, The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys and The Bootleggers. His earlier influences include Joe Clay, Amos Milburn, Big Joe Turner, Gene Vincent, Louis Jordan and Carl Perkins.
Later on, Mario started to concentrate on the guitar and other instruments including piano, drums and percussion, although his dream was always to build his own recording studio. In 1998, Mario finally realized his aspirations and started recording his exciting blend of rockabilly, black rock 'n' roll, blues and jive. Mario likes to write his own material, and 9 out of the 12 tracks on the CD have been self-penned. All vocals and backing vocals sung by Mario - listen out for the different styles which vary according to song.
Mixing jazz, blues and rockabilly, the CD hits off with "Bradley's Boogie", and if you're planning on jumping and jiving tonight, take this platter along, you'll never get tired of it. Dave Diddle Day's "Blue Moon Baby" sounds like a voodoo spell with Mario's voice real low and scraping, awesome! "Drinking Juice" comes thundering in with Mario's greasy slapping bass, still dark voiced, and Russel Bradley (no relation, but cool dude all the same) blowing his sax, how-how!
The double bass is really pepped up on all tracks and "Whiskey And Wine" is no exception. If you like your rockabilly with a loud slap, you came to the right place. "Rock Me Baby" is picking up speed real fast, try boppin' to this one. Great bass string plucking too! "Ain't Got No Diamonds" is another self-penned track, although Mario did listen pretty close to Clarence 'Frogman' Henry's "Ain't Got No Home". Bill Haley was one of the first to mix jazz with rockabilly, like Mario does, and Bradley's "Chicago Jive" is one of these songs that could have been a Haley original, with Russel blowing his sax of course.
"Boppin' To Grandfather's Clock" is your basic rockabilly with a touch of hillbilly, orgininally releases by Sidney Jo Lewis (Hardrock Gunter) I think. More rockabilly on "Long Brown Hair" with Jim Oertling style guitar licks (Old Moss Back). Then Mario switches voices again, while still plucking his upright bass like a mad man, on "Boogie Shake", followed by "Crawdad Hole". The back cover states that it was written by Jack Earls, but to the best of my knowledge this is a country traditional, re-arranged and issued in rockabilly style by Red Moore (Crawdad Song). Of course Jack recorded it too for Sun. Last track is one more jazzy rockabilly jiver, with a rocking piano interlude by Pat Broderick and Mick Lewis (ex-Whirlwind) on guitar, "She's Got Me Hynotised". Rock 'n' roll baby!
Mario is currently working on new material with a view to peforming live under the name "Mario Bradley & The Rhythm Kings". Line-up will include Russell Bradley (Sax) and Mike Lewis (Guitar), both were also guest musicians on Mario's CD, and Glen Hallam on drums. Glen can be heard on the latest Mario Bradley track "Beale Street - The Whole House Shakin'", which is available on a new compilation CD by Fury Records, due for release in October, 2001.
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001