|Mignight Bop, Marco Da Silva & The Midnighters
Ninap records, NNP CD0103
Marco Da Silva's "The Midnight Bop" is best defined as "Best of the 50s Revisited", because Marco's selection consists solely of very well known hits from the 50's and early 60's. You can either dig it, or hate it, as all of these songs have been covered dozens of times before. One thing's for sure, these are all great songs, and reviving the fifties is what what rockabilly is all about of course. Some may say that they would rather play the originals, others will surely welcome a new rendition of their old favorites. Marco is definitely a big fan of Johnny Burnette, because from the 15 tracks on this album, 3 are Johnny Burnette originals. So, let's have a listen how Marco and his band handle reviving songs that in fact cannot be improved in my humble opinion.
The first track is "Tear It Up". Every true rocker or rockette can sing this song by heart, one of the greatest rockabilly songs ever recorded and, without trying to compare Lorenzo with Paul Burlison or Marco with Johnny Burnette himself, this version really sounds pretty cool. Turn up the volume and enjoy! Trying to compete with Charlie Gracie's graceful voice is close to impossible, and it takes a lot of guts to even try re-doing "Fabulous". Is it any good? Well, I actually had shivers going up and down my spine when I heard it the first time, so you can rest assured it's good!
The Everly Brothers never were among my favorites, to soft for my taste, but everyone will agree that they recorded some of the greatest harmonies in the history of rock 'n' roll. Marco comes away clean covering "All I have To Do Is Dream". My respect for Marco's voice is growing with every song. Johnny Burnette's 1960 hit "You're Sixteen" also sounds fabulous in living stereo with real gone guitar picking by Lorenzo Salvatori and guest musician Emilio Merone playing a mean piano.
Time to pick up speed again, "Rip It Up" will get you back in the groove. Ettore Rocchi is hitting the skins hard on this one, Alessandro Benedetti is plucking the bass like his life depended on it, and Lorenzo is going berserk on the six strings. And then there's Emilio again, rattling them 88 keys like he was Little Richard himself. Songs like these never age, thanks to guys like Marco and his friends. And if you think covering Charlie Gracie's voice is difficult, try taking on Sanford Clark! In my book, only Robert Gordon (the greatest voice in revival rockabilly) got away with that, but I can add Marco and his Midnighters to list now.
If you're making a 1950's anthology, it wouldn't be complete without an Elvis Presley song. I would never have picked "Can't Help Falling In Love" myself, but once you've heard Marco sing it, you will agree that the guy knows what he's doing. Next is Jimmy Bowen's "Just Lookin'", yep Marco sure knows how to pick 'em. Some more of my all time favorites are passing the all-star revue, Eddie Bond's "Boppin' Bonnie" followed by Mac Curtis' "If I Had Me A Woman" (great guitar picking, go Lorenzo!) and Billy Fury's ever beautiful "Woundrous Place". Shivers down my spine again, darn, I love that feeling.
Back to basics, Johnny Burnette's "Rockabilly Boogie" thunders through my living room, Robert Gordon & The Wilcats style. Marco is breaking his voice to give it even more feeling, you just gotta dig this. Trying to pump up the volume even more didn't work, I'm already at 10. Who's that pounding on the wall? Don't you just hate your neighbours at a time like this...
To catch your breath, here's Ritchie Valens' "Donna", too slow for me, I gotta rock! What better song to bop to, than Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes". The Midnighters are really at their best playing these uptempo boppers, I wonder how many skins and strings got busted during the recording session. What's that I hear? Is it Eddie Cochran's scorching Gretsch tearing away through my speakers? Nope, it's special guest guitarist Giovanni Cera driving away on "Summertime Blues". And that's the end of it all. What's that guys? No Gene Vincent song? That hurts!
Marco wrote in the liner notes, "This album was a labor of love", and that you can hear (and feel!). All extremely well known songs, all superbly covered by one of Italy's greatest rock 'n' roll bands of nowadays, Marco Da Silva & The Midnighters. Go dig it cats!
The Midnighters are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003