|Got Some Rockin' To Do, Al Willis And The New Swingsters
Crazy Times, 2008
Let's get right to the point: this is one of the finest modern recordings I have heard lately. To be honest, when I saw the statement New Band, New Album on the new Crazy Times record label, I was quite in a critical mood already before listening. Cd cover is very good looking and professionally made, but what can you expect from something (or should I say everything) new? Well, THIS I really didn't expect. Right from the first song "Got Some Thinkin' To Do" truly authentic rockabilly sound fullfilled my house and I, suprisingly shocked, picked up the album to check if it is the right one. To open up some secret (for those who don't know), I want to tell you that Al Willis already played rockabilly music before he had some releases... though I never heard him before. Otherwise I would remember!
Here they are, the new band - Al Willis as a singer and a lead guitarist (!) and his New Swingsters, consisting from drummer Yves "Vivi" Selem and upright bass player Pascal Albrecht. This cd was the first release of "Crazy Times Records" (a newly launched French label managed by Crazy Little Peter of "Crazy Times Music") and what a good choice they have done! You cannot imagine a better presentation. This cd shows all skills of Al Willis and his band from different sides. Deep and sexy voice is perfectly backed up by a bassist and a drummer (who can listen and play, without making noise). For "Feelin' Low" Didie Lecomte was invited to play lap steel, which he did wonderfully!
All songs, 8 self penned and 6 covers, have kind of suprising variation. The plus is that all songs are very different, so you won't be bored. The minus, for me,is that as soon as I started enjoy the perfect rockabilly sound, country song "Brown Mountain Light" (good song and amazing good playing, but it was a little bit too much for me) became a start for some countrish and surfish melodies, which were changing sometimes with firing rock'n'roll tunes, making me happy again. Ending song, Voodoo Woman (by Smily Smith), though turned somehow from classic rockabilly to rock'n'roll commercial song.
Some more brief notes about some memorizable moments, which I didn't mention so farů Big Iron (by Marty Robbins), performed as an instrumental, made me stay still and listen carefully to every note. Beautiful!
I guess it is time to get to the conclusion. Good choice of covers, wonderful arrangments, great skills of musicians make me to give loud applause to this French (amazingly, but singing was without any French accent!) guys...
Cd is over, and only one thought is coming to my head - "We want more!"
Reviewed by Kitti, 2009