RIA AND THE HI-BINDERS - HEART & SOUL
Released: March 2023 on 12’Vinyl and CD(MOONLP2203/MOONCD2203)
Reviewed by: Terry Mead 13/03/2023
Finland’s Ria and the Hi-Binders Combine Rockabilly and Country, with Western Swing, the band's touring line-up now includes the following top musicians: Ria Korhola: Vocal, acoustic guitar Arttur "AT" Teränen: guitar (on the album the guitar is played by Timo Kalijärvi)
Jussi Huhtakangas: pedal steel
Jani Ahtiainen: drums
Lasse Sirkko : bass
Hara Saanio: piano (on the album) The album consists of four self-penned tracks written by Ria Korhola, a couple of standards and other known tracks with the rest lesser known but good choices to air again.
So, let’s review the album:
Heart And Soul – The title track and the first of four self-penned numbers from Ria Korhola. Plenty of energy here to start us off, as the title suggests the lyrics are about not giving you my heart & soul. The constant drumming of Jani Ahtiainen hitting the skins plays a big part to this track and Ria on vocals blends in well, great Western Swing number to get us on our feet.
Give A Lonely Heart A Home- Faron Young originally recorded this song in 1971and was covered by Charly Pride in 1973, plenty of slide on the steel pedal guitar and lovely vocals from Ria here make it a enjoyable tune to listen to keeping the format close to the original sound.
Sinful Man- Bill Browning’s Rockabilly Classic Sinful Woman adapted here for Ria to change the title to ‘Sinful Man’. Great upbeat track with a pulse the only thing missing is Bill Browning’s distinctive voice, but Ria covers this gap well.
Glass Of Wine- Always popular (a glass of wine that is) and so is this tune originally written by Walter Scott, nice catchy beat and carefree vocals from Ria.
Forgetting You- Is one of those sit back feet up and listen to tunes fine soft vocals and a cool slide on the pedals will send you dreaming away.
Gonna Take A Walk- Philp Atkinsons rendition, Ria puts on her raunchy voice for this track slightly more upbeat to the original producing a bopping beat, nice sounds from the guitars along the way to.
Nothing To Me- Another self-penned number for Ria Korhola and this doesn’t disappoint either, neat intro to this lively track and again Jani Ahtiainen does us proud keeping the beat.
Everlasting Love- The Barbara Pittman song of magnitude and Ria and The Hi-Binders have given it a proper airing here recreating the classic sound, there is a fine instrumental break mid-way too.
Little One- Maybe but in my eyes, this is a big one in my books, Ria’s voice here goes to the next level beautifully pitched to sing this tune.
Let’s Elope Baby- Janis Martin’s popular hit, again here another fine cover done in true Martin style.
Bye Bye Baby- Written by Morton Levand and sung by Dorothy Minor in 1957 and not to be confused with the Frankie Valli hit of the same title, this track has been given a new lease of life here and brought out of the vaults. Fine beat with some neat guitar licks.
One Heart To Give-Lovely little ballad to end the album and the fourth of the self-penned tracks. A mixture of Jim Reeves & Patsy Cline style vocals and sound with an emphasis on the steel pedal guitar producing the slide melody.
To summarise, I had pleasure in reviewing Ria and the Hi-Binder’s debt EP last year and have been waiting ever since with the promise of an album to follow. To say the very least I haven’t been disappointed. The four self-penned tracks tell a similar story kind of a saga as the titles suggest. There is a nice blend of tracks here and the covers have been well produced with thought of the original sound. On the whole well worth investing in if you like the authentic Country/Rockabilly sound.
Band Biography: Ria and the Hi-Binders are a Helsinki, Finland based country and rockabilly band with well-known, appreciated, and talented musicians whom one already knows from bands such as Whistle Bait, Mike Bell and the Belltones, Wagtails, Barnshakers, Mystery Train and Lester Peabody just a few to mention. No more than a few years ago (2020) they decided to combine their strength and passion for music and start a new band.
So what’s up with the Hi-Binders? Having five good friends equipped with excellent singing and playing skills and combining it with a love of 40s - 60s country and rockabilly such as Janis Martin, Faron Young and Patsy Cline, Ria and the Hi-Binders - Ria Korhola Guitar & Vocals, Jussi Huhtakangas Pedal steel guitar, Jani Ahtiainen Drums, Timo Kalijärvi Guitar, Lasse Sirkko Upright bass - has quickly created their own sound and identity. This soon caught the attention of a bigger crowd and led to bookings not only at the biggest rockabilly festivals in Finland such as Racecoast Rockin’ Fest and Sulo Stomp Rock & Roll Party but also smaller venues where the most expected one was Dixi Ted’s Rock’n’roll Club shared stage with the Blasters.
Ria and the Hi-Binders was born of a need to write and perform great music with great people, catching tunes and good stories, have fun and provide crowd with energetic shows where you can’t resist dancing and tappin’ your feet. Besides having live performances Ria and the Hi-Binders have recently finished some hot tuned recordings at A.I.R Studio and their debut album (EP) was released in March 2022.Now hot off the press their second release and first album is here. Stay tuned there more in the tank!