|Rock It To The Moon, The Bop Kings
El Toro ETCD-3030
The Bop Kings are a three piece traditional rockabilly outfit hailing from San Antonio, Texas. They are striving to keep real rock 'n' roll alive and well. Casey Miller's vocals are in a style all his own, he can belt out a deep bluesy number and switch over to a lazier hillbilly tune quicker than you'd kiss a duck. Casey also plays the acoustic guitar and has played with several rockabilly bands in the past such as The Texas Thundertones, K.C. Miller and the Kozmik Kowboys and the Hectic Hepcats. He finally formed The Bop Kings in order to play true rock 'n' roll "the way it oughta be played." Tomcat Miller plays the doghouse bass. He gets all riled up and really slaps the bass like a wild man. Tomcat also used to play with The Texas Thundertones, The Hectic Hepcats and The Kozmik Kowboyz. Mike Nesloney plays the electric guitar and is very traditional in his style. He really throws a gone solo and keeps his own brand of juices flowin'. Mike has been on the scene for a while, playing in various holes-in-the-wall around south Texas.
In just one year, The Bop Kings have released this record, played the Rockabilly Hall of Fame stage in Las Vegas, were voted "The Best New Rockabilly Band" at Viva Las Vegas and have a deal to record their next album at Rollin' Rock records in September and as if these boys aren't busy enough, they are planning a national tour starting in mid-September. "Rock It To The Moon" was engineered and mixed by Billy Horton at Fort Horton Studios in Austin, Texas, and released on the Spanish El Toro label. The album consists of 13 original songs, all written by Casey Miller and arranged by The Bop Kings. Some tunes are available in MP3 format from The Bop Kings' website, check 'em out!
True rock 'n' roll "the way it oughta be played". That's quite a statement, because I'm pretty sure many people have as many different opinions on the subject. What is "rockabilly" really? Originally it was a raw mix of hillbilly and rhythm & blues music, revved up with a slapping bass and recorded with a lot of feeling in a small studio or even a garage or living room. That's not what what The Bop Kings are playing. Apart from a single track, there's not much blues to be found, but there's a lot of hillbilly and a magnificent slapping bass. Is it rockabilly? Oh yeah! In fact, it sounds awesomely! Tomcat's upright bass is overwhelming (a little too much sometimes) and Casey's voice has a true hillbilly sound. Like dubbing Hank Williams' songs with Dorsey Burnette's upright bass. What's missing, to my humble opinion, is a bit of frenzyness, especially on the lead guitar. Just a little touch of Paul Burlison, Cliff Gallop or Scotty Moore maybe...
All tracks are selfpenned, and that's a big plus. Not one cover on this album, and although the band has an authentic fifties sound, they also have managed to put in a lot of their own style. All this, and the fact that the overall sound is just perfect, makes this platter a welcome addition to any rockabilly collection. I really look forward to their forthcoming Rollin' Rock recordings. A little bit of Ronnie Weiser's influence will most likely result in another great rockabilly album!
The Bop Kings are:
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2002