|The World Of The Be Bops, The Be Bops
Part Records, PART-CD 622.004
The Be Bops have kept Belgium rocking for over 20 years now. Have a peek at their impressive history - Not many bands can actually say they've been around for that long, playing traditional rockabilly music. And now, at their 20th anniversary, The Be Bops have a new CD out on Part Records (Germany). 15 tracks recorded live at M. Barney's Studio late 2000, about half of 'em selfpenned by Mario Mattucci.
The album starts with the Wayne Walker's "Little Ole You", which was written by Wayne Walker and Mel Tillis, and not (as noted on the cover) by the Burnette Brothers. The Burnette version was recorded in 1960, but not originally issued.
Mattucci's "See If I Care" has the sound of an original 50s rockabilly classic, very well done. "You Crazy, Crazy Moon" (Curtis Gordon, 1954) sounds a bit weird, because vocalist David (probably from the French part of Belgium) has a bit of a problem pronoucing the word "crazy". How do you come up with a title like "Flops Around Like A Dying Fish", very funny and a good rockabilly song too (great lead guitar), but the title is repeated so often it gets anoying at some point. "I'm Tying Up The Blues" slows down the pace a bit, a solid rhythm - Burnette Trio style, real gone. Lonnie Donnegan's "Take This Hammer" with it's off-beat rhythm doesn't quite fit in, and Mattucci's "Have A Ball In The Dark", also at a slower pace, is not one of his best songs. Bob Merrill's "You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry" sounds a lot better and makes up for a few lesser songs on this album.
"Tigress In Bed" and "Cold River Water" are surely some of Mattucci's better songs, a solid rockabilly rhythm will keep your feet moving. "I Don't Know" is best known by Tennessee Ernie Ford, although I'm not sure if that was the original, the changing rhythms in the song make it a hard one to dance to, but it does sound real good. I didn't like Johnny Burnette's slow popsong "Time Is Not Enough" when it was first issued in 1963, and it has surely nothing to do with rockabilly. Further more, Green's voice is not cut out for this kind music. The self-penned "I'll Set To Move" is a whole lot better, great bopper, and Johnny Horton's "Lover's Rock" is a a classic and a fantastic song. Last but not least, Mattucci's "Raw Night Rock" is a fabulous closer, if only all songs on this album were of this calibre.
As you may have noticed, I have mixed feelings with this CD. It contains some real gone rockabilly, but also a few mishaps. There are a few recording or mixing errors on "Time Is Not Enough", something which should never have been released this way, and David Green's raw accented voice is not cut out for the slow melodic songs. In general, the self-penned songs are a lot better than the covers, but I must admit I had higher expectations from a band that has been around for over 20 years.
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Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2001