LOWER THE TONE - NEO TIMES
Released – 2016 recorded at Aardvark studios, Faversham Kent, England. re-released in 2023. Reviewed – Rockin Rebel 27th January 2023. Neo times is a covers release by Lower that Tones who are a neo rockabilly band.
Simon Tyler – guitar/ lead vocals Steve white – Bass/vocals* Russ Moulds – Drums/ Backing vocals. Cover designed by the band and the album recorded and produced by none other than Ben Cooper, drums, saxophone player from the original member of the great Restless band(1978).
Review The Band choose their favourite tracks and put their own styles and sound whilst keeping a respectful tribute to the original sound. And they have picked some right beauties, Tenpole Tudor, ELO and the Rolling stones to name but a few, not forgetting the rock n roll classics from Dion and Buddy Holly. Neo-rockabilly played by such bands like UKs band Restless, Lower the Tone have played since the early 1980s. The style was to mix any popular music to a rockabilly set up: drums, slap bass and guitar. This was followed by many other artists like the Polecats and the Stray Cats. Today, bands like Lower the Tone are more aligned to neo-rockabilly that suits popular music venues instead of the dedicated rockabilly clubs that expect only original rockabilly. So, there is nothing worth watching on TV (is there ever?) so let’s raise the volume to Lower the Tone and blast these walls with some great Neo.
Track by Track Blitzkrieg Bop (T. Ramone) A straight version of the classic from the Remones. Released originally in the U.S in 1976 and was the band’s Debut release. Perfect track to open the album. The slap bass is great throughout the track and some great guitar licks. It's fast paced and well performed. Vocals are spot on. Great job boys.
Rock n Roll is King. (Lynne) Can’t believe this track is now forty years old. The boys do a great rendition of this track with the guitar replacing the Mik Kaminski violin solo. Vocals are great, holding notes gives it a new sound. If like me, you were around for the original in 1983, you will give this track a thumbs up to this cover version. The title of the track was changed by Jeff Lynne early in its production. The original sound was made up from motors and clacking sounds from the Austin Motor plant in Longbridge. Jeff recorded all the sounds and went away. He came back a few weeks later with this track and you can still hear some of his samples in the track.
Rockin Daddy (Dixon) Get you bopping shoes out. Steve (bass) takes the lead vocals and does a great job. Just love the sound of the slap bass coming through between the guitar licks and drums. A great middle solo from the guitarist. Rockin Daddy started life as the flip side to I’ve got a Woman in 1956 with Eddie Bond who, by the way, rejected Elvis from his band. Guess who became the rockin daddy?
I Want Candy (Bern’s, Feldman, Jerry, Gottehrer) Russ on the drums opens this version and opens it with some grand tenor beats before the thrashing paradiddles come into action. Guitar reveals the signature tune of the song which is basically using the Bo Diddley Rhythm. Originally recorded by the Strangeloves in 1965 and believed to be about Candy Johnson whom they had seen at the 64 world’s fair.
At the Hop (Artie, Medora, White) Really good opening with some rockin guitar riffs. They have rocked up this version to a standard that will give the rock n roll scene something to applaud. It’s not too far from the original recording, vocals are good. The whole track just flows with ease down the earlobes and out the feet.
Baby Driver (Simon) I must admit I didn’t think this track was really a song to change to a rockabilly sound, but the band have made it work. It’s actually a good version. This was a bit different from the typical Paul Simon lovey dovey material. I always liked the original, but I like it even more now.
Flying Saucer (rock n roll) (Scott) A nice cover of the original Billy Riley’s 1957 release on the sun label. The band do a cracking version of this track. One minute and fifty seconds of the greatest sound in the world.
Modern Don Juan (Guess, Neal) Steve tackles the vocals on this classic Buddy Holly hit. Once again, the band really give it that neo sound. Slightly faster version thanthe Holly version. The musical interlude is played out well with the drums and the bass. Originally Released on Christmas eve 1956 by Buddy on the Decca label.
Paint it Black (Jagger, Richards) The bass comes through the speakers to make this version a rockin track. Some throwing of the drumsticks against the skins produces a nice duet between both Steve and Russ whilst Simon takes the vocals to achieve the final outcome. A great Neo version of the Rolling Stones 1966 smash hit.
Rocky Road Blues (Monroe) Bill Monroe and his blue grass boys first released this in 1945 and was a great success in the country saloons and hayrides across the USA. But it is Gene Vincent’s version that’s inspiring this track. It's hard to follow any Vincent recording but the band do offer their own style to create a good version. Gene's version was released in 1958 on the Capitol label, but most claim his best version was in 1969 with the Wild Angels backing him.
Swords of a Thousand Men (Tenpole) Even though this was classed in the genre of Punk by Tenpole Tuder in 1981, I have always classed it as rockabilly. I used to get some right looks at the youth wing, punks jumping all over the place and me bopping away with my collar up over my ears. I was only 12. This is a really good version by the band. Its fast, its hectic, it's Rockabilly. Well done on confirming its status!
Tornado (Anderson, Hedges) The band complete the album on a classic number. This great song from the Jiants on the Claudia label in 1959 was often said to be the final link from rockabilly to the new sixties sound. This is a perfect finish to a really good album.
Summary The guys have obviously got their heads together to pick such a great selection of tracks to give the rockabilly touch too. Although it was first released in 2016, it does deserve another run on the track. and give everybody a taste of the Neo we all loved in the 80s.
Recommendation Very much so, a good album along with some rockin tracks to have a bop around the kitchen.