|Rock Love, Kingsize Trio
King Size Records, KSR 01
Three Dutch blokes with a big heart for authentic 50s music, Gert de Graaf, Tiny Lathouwers and Peter Dekker form the dynamic rockabilly outfit "The Kingsize Trio". And especially for their debut CD the trio had a fourth hand at the playin' table, another well known Dutch rockabilly cat named Rob Luvius of Billy Wiggle & The Wigglers' fame, playin' lap steel guitar. I've seen this gang perform their raucous show many times and I must say that I have enjoyed it each and every time. Let's give this platter a spin and see what these cats can do in a studio.
The white an' green platter hits off with Moon Mullican's "Moon's Rock", a good choice if you're gonna do covers, because in my (rather large) collection, I could not find any other versions than Moon's original. Great rocking song, and I'm glad Rob Luvius is back on the scene again, 'cause he gives the song a nice hillbilly touch. I believe "Juke Joint Johnny" was a Pinetoppers hillbilly song, also recorded by Red Sovine, but I recognise Eddie Bond's '69 version in this track, a pretty cool country/rockabilly mix.
The Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me" has been covered quite a lot in the past, although I haven't heard a new version for a while, I think us rockabillies all remember the Johnny Burnette Trio version best, and so did the Kingsize Trio by the sound of it. "Somebody Lied" sounds a lot like the Hal Peters Trio version, Hawshaw Hawkins did the original if I remember correctly, and it's still a very refreshing song.
Any good rockabilly cover band needs a lot of Burnette Brothers stuff in their repertoire, so it's no wonder we find another one here titled "Warm Love". I think "Slow Down Baby" was originally titled "Slow Down Brother", with this song Ferlin Husky made a shot at the rockabilly market in 1956. Moon Mullican's "Cherokee Boogie" is pretty well known, at least in Europe, because Johnny & The Roccos covered it on their first LP and they had big succes with this catchy song on stage too.
"Rock Love" was a song by Nita, Rita & Ruby (RCA, 1955), produced by Chet Atkins. The three gals are Anita Carter (sister-in-law of Johnny Cash), Ruby Wells (daughter of Kitty Wells) and Rita Robbins (thanx Peter for the historical information). I haven't heard the original, but this Kingsize Trio cover sounds pretty cool, Peter sure knows how to handle his upright bass. Same goes for the all time rockabilly classic (and one of my all time favorites as well) "Rockin' Rollin' Stone" (Andy Starr). Somehow I feel that this song kinda belongs in Holland, maybe because The Chevy Cats recorded it too and they used to play it on just about every gig. A great song that brings back a lot of memories.
Rick Nelson's rockabilly version of Mickey Jupp's song "You Know What I mean" was also recently covered by Rock Cat Rock and Johnny Fox & The Hunters. The Kingsize Trio do quite a good job too, but if you like things a bit rougher, I'd suggest the Rock Cat Rock version. Next, the trio gives the Collins Kids "Mercy" a try, I'm sorry to say that this didn't quite work out. I know, trying to top Larry Collins is a bitch. The trio does a far better job with Buddy Holly's "Modern Don Juan". Then a sudden switch to a more recent song, High Noon's "Now You're Gonna Be Loved", which is not a classic yet, but it might become just that. Great song and very well played too. Janis Martin's "Bang Bang" sounds okay too, although I think it really needs a female voice. It's been a while since I heard Joe Clay's "Goodbye Goodbye", but I'm glad it has been revived again, because the song's really worth it.
Track 16 worried me a bit when I read the title on the CD cover. "Hot Rod Man" has been in my top 10 for a long time. This Tex Rubinowitz classic gave me shivers down my spine everytime, so I assumed the Kingsize Trio would have a hard time covering that. I must admit, they did a hell of a job, and I think Tex will be proud of 'em. Real gone fast rockabilly the way I like it best and certainly my favourite track from this album. The last track is Les Paul & Mary Ford's "Bye Bye Blues". Picking the guitar like Les Paul is damn near impossible I guess, but Tiny does a great job here. Fabulous closer for a great album!
Although this album consists of only covers, it's still very much worth while. The songs are well chosen and very well played (with a single exception, but that might just be a matter of taste). Not only can the Kingsize Trio put up a great show on any stage, they now also have great CD for those of us who also like to do some rocking at home. Go get it!
Reviewed by he BlackCat, 2001