|Rumble In The Alley, Johnny Black
Chrome Star Records, 2004
Warning! There's a note on the back cover of this CD that reads: "This is NOT a rock 'n' roll revival disc. Anyone caught saying it will be shot by hanging and murdered by death !!!!"
Oops, do I dare to review this new Ozzie platter then? Well, what the heck, I'm bold and fearless (I think). I was one of the first to review Johnny's debut album "Extra Chrome" last year, and this self-produced album was eventually released on the well known Nervous label in the United Kingdom. Let's hear if Johnny can live up to all the expectations that emerged from his wonderfull debut. This second album consists of 12 tracks, all written and performed by Johnny Black and recorded "almost live" at Industry Studios in Adelaide, Australia.
One thing's for sure, the opener of this disc, titled "Live fast", lacks the power of "Fade Away", the song that opened his debut CD. The sound is much less powerfull, and there's no hard thumping bass line like the one that immediatly caught my attention in the first album. Still, this album is recorded at the same studio, so the overall sound should have been the same, but it's not. The volume is much lower too. There's actially nothing wrong with the song itself, after adjusting my bass control and volume level, it turned out to be a great rocker after all.
There's a lot more slapping bass on the title song "Rumble In The Alley" and on "One Cool Cat", which do have a lot more of the impact of "Fade Away". "Sat 'n' Silk" is not my kind of song, although Johnny's voice is very good, there's a bit too much synthetics in it, and of course it's much too slow for my taste. "Dig The Jive", "Tripp'n On The Moon" and "Johnny's Boogie" are all piano rockers, and I must admit I do appreciate a real piano much better. "Roll Over Daddy" has that specific Johnny Black sound again, and the Stray Cat style "Kitten" even has some artificial vinyl noise at the beginning. On the last track "Rock City" Johnny shows us that he can even get a decent saxophone out of his keyboard.
Not quite the quality of his debut album, but still a pretty good rocking album. Still, I'll leave it up to you to decide if electronic keyboards in rockabilly are acceptable or not. One thing's for sure, it's NOT a rock 'n' roll revival disc, so I'll probably get away clean with this review :-))
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2004