‘THE SOUND OF WEDDING BELLS’
Also doubling up as a Valentine’s Day offering, this is the latest in Bear Family’s themed compilations. True to form there’s an eclectic mix, Gene Vincent and Brenda Lee represent the well-known with ‘Wedding Bells’ and ‘Let’s Jump The Broomstick’ respectively. There’s an originally unreleased Sun recording by O. C. Holt, and other tracks you’ve probably not heard before but will be glad that you have. It’s all up-tempo rockabilly, country, rock n roll, teen, swing and other genres swirling in this musical love-in. Anyone who is to be married and been put through the purgatory of having to listen through CDs of mainstream ‘Wedding Music’, this is your salvation!
This Dutch band of Garage Punk rockers have been around since 2005 but this is their first album in over a decade. They’ve not been dormant though, launching plenty of singles in the 12 years since the self-titled album hit on Slovenly. The first impression of this is how often does a drummer lead from the front? This is ferociously beat driven powering those echo laden rocking guitars though an avenue of red lights. There’s a whole lot going on in the party that is this album, most of it at a frenzied pace though never drowned in fuzz, there’s a whole bunch of surf vibe in here too as well as some dark moments and near psychobilly wig-outs, the instrumental ‘Panik’ merging the genres while ‘Ready To Die’ is a garage belter bursting forth with 60’s fizz all over it.
A crazed one-man band, Nestter Donuts has been honing his trade in the scuzziest clubs in town, that town being Alicante and surrounding areas in Spain. This is low-fi rock n roll of the wildest disorder, I’m not sure how Nestter puts it all together, but it sounds like a band, a guitarist who wreaks havoc with his instrument and a drummer on the verge of a breakdown. There’s plenty of Spanish influence, though whoever conceived the video clip for ‘Infeccion’ a hard rocking trash-out probably needs to be in a home. Nestter likes to get naked on stage, sings in both Spanish and English. In the stripped down ‘Elvis Presley’ I think he’s telling us that the King wants to fuck his mum. Described by his own label is ‘Spain’s Number One Nutjob’ this reviewer certainly isn’t going to argue, he’s great though, 14 insane and infectious reasons to love him.
‘JACK KEROUAC 100 YEARS OF BEATITUDE’
This is a fascinating look into the Beatnik movement which pre-dated rock n rock and outlived its heyday. It’s all loosely based around the fact it would have been king of the beatniks Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday this year. There are some oddities including an interview and reading from the album’s namesake who appears to have been a tortured genius. Music spans from 1943 to 1963 and includes Be Bop Jazz, Rhythm And Blues, Word Jazz and Rock n Roll. The rockers appeared keen to have a novelty pop at the beatniks who it has to be said were fair targets. It’s often quite hard to tell what’s a send up and the real thing. Like I said in the opening sentence, this is fascinating stuff for the musically curious with enough great rock n roll for those that are dyed in the wool rocking too want to get it, there’s an excellent booklet to full us all on what’s what too.
If ever there was an addition to an extensive series of classic music that raises the bar it’s this one. Pianist and singer Jimmy McCracklin was active for half a century so there’s a lot to draw from. As you’d expect for this series, Bear Family have picked the hardest rocking tunes recorded by Jimmy and the Blues Blasters, if you aren’t that familiar with this guy’s body of work then let me tell you there’s rarely been a better named band. You’ll probably be familiar with at least one of these, his ‘The Walk’ was a sensational hit back in 1958, this is organic rocking music with lyrics drawn from a real life lived working in snake pit venues soaked in gin and soul. A top compilation from the start to finish of these 79 minutes.
This is another in Bear Family’s series of combination 10” vinyl and CD releases. This one is dedicated to Stomp Gordon sub-headed ‘The Killa Dilla From Columbus Ohio’ and it’s the first time he’s had a vinyl album dedicated to him. Stomp, his name given to him for his on stage trick of playing the piano with his bare feet, was active for Decca, Mercury, Chess and Savoy between 1952 and 1956. It all ended when Stomp was found dead in his parked car, he was only 31. The vinyl, containing pulsating rockers ‘The Grind’, ‘Hide The Bottle’, title track ‘Damp Rag’ and more are dedicated to Stomp’s solo work while the CD gathers the remainder of his known recorded work collaborating with others. It’s top stuff and a tribute to Bear Family’s tenacity to focus on an artist otherwise destined for relative obscurity. This comes with a booklet and postcard to top off the package.
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