|Hey There Baby, Moonlight Cruisers
El Toro Records ETCD2036
The Moonlight Cruisers, based in Los Angeles and formed in 2000, is a band that play roots rock, highly influenced by Rockabilly and Mexican Music, among other many types.
They began to play in the local Rockabilly scene at backyard parties and small bars. When they played that time, they brought something new to their audience: a mix of Rockabilly with Cumbias and other traditional Mexican music. This was new for a Rockabilly band, and the crowd went out of their mind! Soon dubbed by some unknown source as "Cumbia Cats", the Moonlight Cruisers built a fan base Cats and Kittens who like to shake their butts and watch some high octane Rockabilly performance on stage. It is a showband with old fashioned, enjoyable entertainment, with great guitarplay and heavy bass! These boys know what they are doing, and on their way to becoming a premier act in the Rockabilly scene they invented a new sound, now labeled "Cumbiabilly".....
The Moonlight Cruisers have shared the stage with Hank Williams II, Stray Cats, Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys, The Paladins and Los Straitjackets. You have to agree with me, these are not the least in the rockin' scene!
With these great names there is also a "little" list in venues they played: Doll Hut, The Rumble Bar, The House of Blues, Hootenanny, The Palladium, and the list goes on and on.
But, due to a tragic car accident in 2009, where drummer Andrew Martinez has left his life, the Moonlight Cruisers does no longer exists. The three Cruisers left went on playing that great music under a new name: Moonlight Trio.
Well, I will try and talk you through this album of the Moonlight Cruisers. We start with "Leave Me Alone", written by A.Martinez and A.Pelayo, nice good old Rockabilly, it makes me think of the music of Lee Rocker. And while we speak of Lee, listen to "Hey There Baby", it starts like Mistery Train like Brian Setzer plays it. Even the drums lets you think of Bernie Dresel, and boy, do I like it! Balad time with "Cool It Now", followed by the Mexican tunes fo "Skeletor", an instrumental which wouldn't look bad in a Spagetti Western when the sherrif has overwon his outlaw. "Born Too Late" is a nice rockin' balad that let you hear the great vocals of these guys, very great melody here and great guitarplaying. Cumbiatime with "Baila", I did not understand a word of it, it just sounded very good! Steady rockin' beat, a guitar to lick your finger by: "Never Forget", well I won't! "Gone" is just another great Rocker. As you might know, or not, I have a great love for Upright Bass, slapping bass that is, and if we talk Rockabilly, this is it! It's called: "Last Night". In this song everything is right: guitar, bass, drums, vocals, it isn't just slow Rockabilly, it is, well, just the best I have heard in a while (love that bassman,.... sorry :-). My favourite, chicken skin, goose bumps, what ever!! And then: respect to the guitarplayers, an instrumental track "Spanky Goes To Hollywood", I think many guitarplayers wish they could play like these guys. Fun Rockabilly with "Ice Cream Man", but do I hear Speedy Gonzales in this song?? "Fade Away" is again such a great song with that nice heavy bass, and, maybe it sounds a little monotonous, but the next, "Loose" is of that same quality, again. Well, becoming of that all, we go Mexican with "Chicharrones". It sounds very cheerfull, I don't know if it is so, because I do not understand a word of it. What I do know is that it sounds like the music from the friendly Islands of the Caribeans, with a little more rockin' guitar in it, you just can't sit still! I hope you get the chance of listen to this album, for me it's worth five stars out of five, it is a great CD, fourteen tracks, never the same, fast Rockabilly goes hand in hand with Cumbia and nice balads. I love this one!
The Moonlight Cruisers are:
Reviewed by Rockin' Kees, 2010