RONNIE DAWSON –THE BBC WAS JUMPIN’
Released 14th February 2023 on the BBC Transcription Services label. Reviewed 24th July 2023
This album covers two sessions recorded in December 1993 and November 1994 for John Peel at BBC’s Maida Vale Studio 4. Ronnie Dawson is on Lead Guitar and vocals, ably assisted by Malcolm Chapman on second Lead Guitar, Matt Redford on Double Slap Bass, Boz Boorer on Acoustic Guitar with Brian Neil on Drums. The album was produced by Mike Robinson and engineers Julia Carney and has only been released as a limited run of 500 on vinyl LP.
1. Up Jumped The Devil; The album opens with a great track from Ronnie Dawson’s 1994 ‘Monkey Beat’ album.
2. Action Packed; An up tempo version of the Blonde Bomber’s iconic early hit featuring some deft guitar pickin’ and Ronnie is obviously having fun.
3. Rock The Blues; This one really swings with some more tight band work and guitar pickin’ and is also off ‘Monkey Beat’!
4. Down In Mexico; This track is a cover of the 1956 Coasters hit and has a great groove, it’s another ‘Monkey Beat’.
5. Wham Bam Jam; Ronnie Dawson at his best on this roaring track !
6. The Cats Were Jumpin’; Great rockabilly from Ronnie Dawson’s 1989 second album ‘Rockinitis’ on this version.
7. Yum, Yum; Another iconic Ronnie Dawson classic also from ‘Rockinitis’.
8. Party Time; This track originally issued on his 1988 first album ‘Still A Lot Of Rhythm’ sounds a little like a loose rework of Shake Rattle & Roll.
9. Knock Down, Drag Out; Ronnie Dawson is in great vocal form on this one, which has a great studio live feel, originally released on the ‘Rockinitis’ album.
10. Ghost Riders (In The Sky); Original versions were the Ramrods instrumental and Johnny Cash. Ronnie builds into this version by introducing Brian Neville on Drums, Matt Redford on Double Slap Bass with ex Polecat Boz Boorer as special guest on Rhythm Guitar and Malcolm Chapman on Lead Guitar. Some slick instrumentation and smooth vocals by Ronnie on the final track.
Summary; I’m a big Ronnie Dawson fan and this is a great BBC session featuring some of his best known tracks with the band giving new life to familiar classics, This album recorded at the height of his later-life career revival, features a top flight backing band, including ex Polecats front man Boz Boorer. The track selection is great and encompasses numbers from the first of Ronnie Dawson’s comeback albums plus his iconic early ‘Blonde Bomber’ track Action Packed.
Whereas some better known artists' recorded efforts have tended to sound flat or constrained by the BBC studio environment, Ronnie Dawson only adds to his legend and sounds energised throughout, so if this is his encore, then it does him credit. Recommendation; I’m guessing that if we wait a while, reissues of this album on either format will come, because this one is worth a listen. Here’s hoping !
Reviewed by Warren Voight from Dunedin, New Zealand, a music historian, collector, songwriter and presenter of 360 DEGREES ‘ROUND WAZROCK on Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM or www.oar.org.nz