|Shake Shack Stomp, Kevin Fennell
Windsor Music, 2006
Just into 2007 and my long time friend and guitar wizard Kevin Fennell hits us again with a brand new release. Playing guitars, dobro, mandolin and fender bass on this album, maybe "guitar wizzard" isn't a very good name, the man can play anything with strings on it, and then some! His old pal and partner in crime Ray Campi is also present with his hot slappin' bass on 7 of the total 12 tracks, and also doing a lead vocals on track #2 "The Rockabilly Way".
Kevin has always been a versatile man, making "real music" in the range of blues, jazz, country, rockabilly and good owl rock 'n' roll. This album however, is mostly rockabilly and it hits off with the fast paced title track "Shake Shack Stomp". With a running Fender bass, wah-wah guitar licks and Kevin's striking vocals, it's definitly an opener that'll keep echoing in your head.
When Ray Campi sets in his thumping doghouse bass on "The Rockabilly Way", you know you're in for some cool fifties rockabilly. Kevin plays his strings with as many tricks and echoes as possible, and together they're blowing off the roof. The tempo is slowed down just a little bit on the stomping "High Tone Blues", with harpmaster Joel Gossman blowing and sucking the blues.
As usual Kevin wrote and produced all the songs on this album himself and "Play Play Play" is a beautiful harmony song rockabilly, hillbilly, blue grass and western swing style. "March Of The Lost Zombies" is something different all together. A raw sixties garage sound, not rockabilly at all, but as said before, Kevin likes to mix all sorts of music together in a big bowl of rock 'n' roll. Back to the roots with "Shake Rag Town", an all acoustic song with Joel blowing the blues again. And we're sticking to the blues on track #7 "Waitin' By My Window", electrified this time.
"Walkin' With My Baby" is a turn over to country bop, a bit of a ballad, with Kevin's voice way down low. You might feel hungry for some more rockabilly, and that's what you're gonna get on "Red Hot Radio Show". The instrumental "Sparky's Stomp" also has a rockabilly beat to it, but gets real bluesy when Joel sets in his harmonica. More slappin' and rockin' on "We Gonna Rockabilly", and the closer "Cosmic Hillbilly Cocktail" is another instrumental with Kevin playing his tricks on the strings.
A great album with a wide variety of music and sounds, often heavily influenced by early Ray Campi hillbilly and rockabilly, no wonder of course if you keep in mind that Kevin and Ray have been playing together for some 30 odd years. The "March Of The Zombies" track is a bit out of place here in my humble opinion, but still a great song if you can appreciate a bit of 60s weirdness. The footnote on the inside cover says "To Be Played Loud". I suggest you do just that!
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Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2007