With so many rockabilly/psychobilly bands out there, it’s refreshing to hear a band latching on to the swing roots of rock. Taking a page from the orchestras of Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris, the band comes on full force, with the opener Jungle Room with its big beat, swinging sax and Dana Hartman’s belted-out vocal. The guitar lives up to its ‘axe’ nickname as Paul Wickerson whips through a wonderfully choppy guitar solo. More jazz chops are revealed on the next track, Devil Girl Stomp, which features some hot guitar/sax interplay that continues on one of the best tracks, Long Gone Daddy, with a great vocal by Dana and some nice call-and-response vocal support from the boys.
The band gives us a little history lesson with their popular single Rocco Perri, an ode to Ontario’s most notorious prohibition bootlegger who smuggled many a bottle of Canadian hooch to thirsty prohibition era Americans. The vocals of sax player Cole G. Benjamin and Dana are reminiscent of those of Louis Prima and Keely Smith.
The swinging continues on tracks City Of Sin and the title track, with more tasty guitar solos from Paul Wickerson and some clinking of glasses on Let’s Get Drinkin’. My fave track is up next, Straight Six and Four on the Floor, a moody guitar and sax number that wouldn’t sound out of place on the juke box at the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks. Dana’s vocals smoulder on this one.
The final tracks, Won’t Let You Go and Jalopy, are a showcase for some more blistering guitar work from Paul. Though the guitar and sax dominate the sound, they wouldn’t stand out half so nicely if it weren’t for the strong foundation that the rhythm section of Steve Heightington and Brad Ondrovcik provide. All in all it’s a pretty impressive debut that should please the rockabilly fans out there as well garner them some new fans who dig big band jazz.
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