Archer St. Blues, The Starkweather Boys 
Charlier Records CR001

The Starkweather Boys are an All-American variety show. Comprised of four different Oklahoma musicians from four different sects of roots music, The Starkweather Boys joined together in 2004 to play the darn heck out of the best styles of American music ever set to acetate. Authentic explosions of Jump Blues, Rockabilly, Quick Two-Steps, Western Swing, Smokehouse Blues, 1940's R&B, Honky Tonk, Guitar Instrumentals, Hillbilly and straight up 50's Rock N' Roll comprise The Boys' high-energy sets.

J.D. wrote to me: "I've been visiting your website for many years, and now I have something of my own to submit for review. We hope you enjoy the record."  Well, I appreciate that a lot, so I'm gonna do my extra best to make this a review you'll enjoy reading...

Let's first listen how enjoyable the music itself is, because I already noticed that a steel guitar is included in the line-up and, as my constant readers may already know, I'm not too fond of pedal steels, because I think they make good old rockin' music sound like country or hillbilly. But, as long as the rhythm keeps going, I can appreciate any instrument that is played with skill, enthusiasm and love for our kind of music.

When I put the platter in the drawer, and the first song "Abigail Blue" starts spinning, I'm no longer worried! It rocks like a rolling stone and I just had to turn up the volume. This really is a catchy song, even the neighbours loved it, they just kept banging the walls along with the rhythm. Great fun!

"Slow Movin' Girl" starts off with a slower tempo, but picks up a stomping rhythm along the way. Some aggressive lead guitar licks turn the song into a powerfull rocker. The bluesy "Little Mae", completely in Little Richard soulful style, will surely creep under your skin. Yes, J.D.'s got quite a voice!

"Off His Leash" gets you right back on your feet, with hard knocking drums and jungle rhythms, the Starkweather Boys show that they really do know what rock'n'roll is all about. "Hard Time Gettin' Started" is the first cover song, an Eddie Boyd R&B classic. Only two covers appear on this album, all the rest was written by the band themselves, mostly by singer J.D. McPherson, who also wrote "Man Without Shame", a rocking song that also winks towards Little Richard. Fabulous lead guitar!

"Bare Bones" was written by Kevin Wright, but although it has a totally different sound due to the steel guitar and fiddle, it still keeps up the rhythm, I think I even recognise a bit of Les Paul here. Alas, "The Best Of You" is one of those songs that I don't fancy very much, lotsa steel, too much country the Marty Robbins way, but I know many of you out there also dig a bit of country & western now and then.

Then comes "Straight Razor Baby", the rockin' is all back. Yes, I must admit, you CAN play rock'n'roll on a pedal steel! A bit of swing with piano, trombones and fiddle on the title song "Archer St. Blues", a whole lotta rhythm too as we two-step into "Rather Do It Alone". The last track on the album is the 2nd coversong, Little Richards' "True Fine Mama", and what a way to close an album! A fabulous rendition that does proud to the self-acclaimed King of Rock'n'Roll. What a fantastic album this is, rocking and swinging all the way. I utterly enjoyed it!

Abigail Blue / Slow Movin' Girl / Little Mae / Off His Leash / Hard Time Gettin' Started / Man Without Shame / Bare Bones / The Best Of You / Straight Razor Baby / Archer St. Blues / Rather Do It Alone / True Fine Mama

The Starkweather Boys are (left to right):
Kevin Wright - Vocals, Guitar, Pedal Steel, Harmonica
Billy Earl Padgett - Vocals, Drums
J.D. McPherson - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Johnny Carlton - Vocals, Upright Bass

Guest musicians:
Jason Combs (Acoustic Guitar), Ryan Jones (Piano), Jeremy Watkins (Fiddle), Matt Leland (Trombone), Catherine McRae (Violin)

Contact information:

MP3's available from

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2007