|Toe Tappin' Tunes (Yodeler 102)
Washboard Wilma & The Unkool Hillbillies
If you have heard Washboard Wilma & The Unkool Hillbillies' debut album "A Home In Montana", you already know that this 'Unkool band' does things a little different. Mixing fast piano rock 'n' roll with hillbilly sounds. This second album is something else again, and quite different from the first. Wilma still has that yodel sound in her voice, but she's not gonna yodel for you this time, could this be because of what I wrote in my first review? Instead, they invited Richard Andersson to play some harmonica on a couple of tracks, which adds a little blues to the Unkool Hillbillies' sound.
Let's hit right off with the smashing piano rock 'n' roll pounder "Toe Tappin' Song" that will get you on the dance floor, and if not, it will surely make you tap your toes. "Dairy Man Blues", one of the 7 selfpenned tracks, is the first song where Richard shows off his harmonica abilities, varied with hot rocking guitar and piano breaks. Track 3, "Spend Some Time With Me" is where we meet Wilma again (the first 2 songs were sung by Anders Umegard), a somewhat slower rock song to get her in the mood I guess, but she picks up speed right after that with "Wake Up". The different nuances in Wilma's voice gives her singing that extra special something, something you can't really put your finger on (sex appeal?)
T.J. Skero's "Gold Digging Mama" (Four Star, 1950) is a sidestep towards the blues again, but still with a rockin' rhythm. Pickin' up speed with "Swingtime Cowgirl" with Wilma puttin' in just a little touch of yodel. Next, Anders tells you the story of "Country Music Joe", which sounds a bit like an uptempo skiffle song. Different...
Billy "The Kid" Emerson's "Shim Sham Shimmy" is another mix of early blues and piano rock 'n' roll, of course with a cool dose of harmonica. "Beatel Um-Bum" is a cover, but I have never heard the original. It's a strange song, with everything the Unkool Hillbillies have and know thrown in, including a rattler.
And now for some very fast ghost-a-billy, "Shanty Town", written by Anders Umegard, and with guest musician and rockabilly veteran Björn Helleman on lead guitar. The closer "Flat Top Boogie" is the only song sung by Ove Andersson. It's also very different from all the other songs. It doesn't rock, it's not blues or hillbilly, it's more like telling a story with background music. Not too bad, but nothing special either.
It seems to me like the band has matured a little since their debut CD two years ago. It's more rock 'n' roll and less hillbilly, and it has the afore mentioned blues influences. Every which way you look at it, it rocks! But, as I wrote in my first review, you must have a love for piano boogie woogie, and I do...
CD available from:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2002