Mellow Jo & The Hi-Tones (Selftitled)
Tombstone Records CD 2095

Here it is: the first full size CD from Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones. This five piece Rockin' band from around Amsterdam started life in 2007. At first there was Haystack Hi-Tones, then later it formed, somewhat natural, you guessed it: Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones. In between then and now in the existence of Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones there were a few minor changes in line-up such as the first drummer Hans Snitslaar (drummer of El Rio Trio) who changed in 2009 with Jan van Leeuwen, and in 2010 came Rhythm Guitarist Jan Kramer to set his notes. The band is formed around Marjos "Mellow Jo" Rinders, a lovely lady with a voice of gold! All of them has earned their stripes in the Rock 'n' Roll scene in Europe and even in the States in several bands. The bands that some have played in is too long to mention, but I will name a few: Haystack Hi-tones, Kieron McDonald Combo, Chessnuts, Sid & Billy King, Tin Stars, The Buzz Barton Brothers, Ray, Rolf & Ronnie, Black Sheep and the Spareribs, Reno Brothers, Barnstompers, Eddie Angel's Planet Rockers Tribute Band. This list goes on and on.....not the least names I think.

Well, we have to talk about music as well. The repertoire they play is from the 1930's Big Band Swing to the 1960's Rock and Roll Blues and everyting in between: Rockabilly, Western Swing, Hillbilly, Country Bop, Swingjazz and some instrumentals, and even some Rock 'n' Roll too ;-)

Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones recorded a four track demo CD two years ago and a solo instrumental, written by Rolf Hartogs, last year. All styles of the 40's and 50's sounds will be present when they play. And did I mention that these musicians has played at the craziest and biggest festival's all over Europe and even at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)? No? Now I have! This first album has fourteen tracks on it and consists of mainly covers of big names of Rock 'n' Roll, except for track 6, this one is written by Rolf Hartogs, the Leadguitarist of Mellow Jo. You can also hear on some tracks Annita Langereis. Mellow Jo and Annita sang together in Haystack Hi-Tones, before Annita decided to go solo in 2000. Annita is also well known in the scene and played all over the world with her Austin Playboys and nowadays with the Starbombers. You see, it's a small Rockin' world.

This CD is recorded at the New Road Studios in Wijchen, Gelderland, NL. Artwork is done by Marcella Geeroms from Oh My Lucky Stars, it looks great!

Back to Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones:
I've been at the CD-presentation where they played all songs from this CD, Annita was there, so I was very glad drummer Jan gave me this new CD. "Hope you like it" he said. I have seen Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones several times live, and always it's great to hear them play. With passion and lots of humor they are rockin' the place down! As the last sentence on the CD cover says: Put this disc in to your stereo and press "play": Double Bass takes off in B-Flat... And it literally does with Al Sherman's "Comes Along A Love", a really great opener, the tone is set! Next is "Aimin' On Livin' Some" with guest appearences of Annita, who did the vocals together with Marjos, and Lee Jefriess who took the Lap Steel part. Swing melody on "Steamheat", written by Bing Crosby and Harry Barris, great song and what a voice Marjos has!!!

To cool some things off..."That's Why I'm Evil", boogie played Mellow Jo's style. The Lap Steel of Lee Jefriess has got a leading part on "Loser's Blues", and he does a great job. Track six, an instrumental written by Mellow Jo's own lead guitarist Rolf Hartogs, who, at least I'm told (did not verify that...) learned himself play the Lap Steel for this track called "Bouncin' ". Well I know he's one of the best guitarists in Holland, but play the Lap Steel that way, hats off!!

Eddie Fontaine wrote "East Of The Mississippi" and it looks like he wrote it just for Mellow Jo!! Try to keep your feet stand still..."Heartache Meets Mr. Blues", song eight is for the ladies Marjos and Annita, nice! Slowing things down with "Just A Lucky So And So" sort of a jazzy style slow blues ballad. Hillbilly Bop is it on "it's A Good Day". This one is sung by bassist Ray and Marjos, with great guitar play by Rolf. If you like to bop, then now is your change: "Out of Gas", you automatically got to move to this tune! "Whiskey Flavoured Kisses" Western Swing sung by drummer Jan, backed up by Ray. Great song, played very tight, just like all of them.

"Treat Me Mean" a nice old cover, originally written by Conway Twitty, now sung by the ladies Marjos and Annita, who feel right at home in this uptempo rockin' song. To get even a level higher, for uptempo that is, listen to "Rock And Roll" great Rockabilly here that outplays the original writer completely! And if you know who wrote it... Led Zeppelin, hope you know what I mean. I like this album very much, eventhough it's got some recognizable sounds from the Haystack Hi-Tonesout from the early days. But hey, they were great too! Don't miss this one...

Comes Along A Love / Aimin' On Lovin' Some / Steamheat / That's Why I'm Evil / Loser's Blues / Bouncin' / East Of The Mississippi / Heartache Meets Mr. Blues / Just A Lucky So And So / It's A Good Day / Out Of Gas / Whiskey Flavoured Kisses / Treat Me Mean / Rock And Roll

Mellow Jo & the Hi-Tones are:
Marjos "Mellow Jo" Rinders - Vocals
Rolf Hartogs - Lead Guitar
Jan Kramer - Rhythm Guitar
Ray Blom - Double Bass, Vocals
Jan van Leeuwen - Drums, Vocals

Specials guests:
Annita Langereis - Vocals on track 2, 8 and 13
Lee Jefriess - Lap Steel on track 2 and 5
Rolf Hartogs played also Lap Steel on Bouncin'

Booking info:
Jan van Leeuwen 06-48610531

Reviewed by Rockin' Kees, 2011