SMITTY & THE ROCKIN' ROOSTERS - YOUR ROCKABILLY WAKE UP CALL !
Release Date: around the 23.02.2023 on Rockin’ Rooster Records (Limited 300 copies)
Reviewed on 11.02.2023 Reviewed by Holger E. @radioteddyboys1983
The Band: Smitty on Acoustic Guitar & Vocals, P.L. on Slap-Bass, Herby on Lead Guitar and Pete on Drums. Lets just skip the years 2020 and 2021. Fast forward to 2022 and 2023 Smitty and The Rockin’ Roosters toured around and got even tighter with their music and composing. And then you reach the point that you have plenty of material to press your first full album. Rockabilly, Rock’n’Roll and a bit of Country is the recipe Smitty knows best and collaborates all these styles that make you suffer and dance all in one album. With all the Rockabilly and Alkabilly history in his home town of Düsseldorf this album is a wild ride to nobody's surprise. All that would have not been possible, if Lead Guitar Herby presented Herby’s Dungeon Studio to do all the recording. So it is a Dungeon for Rockabilly’s and here is where the magic of “Take One” and finish happens. No cutting, no slicing, no dubbing, no nothing. What you listen to is exactly what you hear live on stage. Play and Record and then of to the Press Plant. Well not so fast. With all the shortage of Pressing Plants and Vinyl prices going made Smitty decided to open up Rockin’ Rooster Records. So it’s Smitty’s own Label. With that he and the band have full control of their music, production, distribution etc. This is a big step for everyone in the band but as you can hear in the album, it is for the best. Track by Track 1.: Batteroo: This is a great introduction to the album. Herby is starting off with a mid-tempo reverb Guitar that runs like a train (remember Sun Records and Johnny Cash). The Slap-Bass P.L. plays runs just so effortless and precise including double and triple slaps, it’s awesome. Pete decided to stay evr so slightly in the background with his rolling Drums and peeks out with his hard hitting Tom-Tom every so often to break up his play. Smitty kept quite (this is a cover from Planet Rockers), with just pin-point accuracy Acoustic Guitar he is driving the Band forward. 2.: Crazy Dan: Dan the Rooster (see cover) is the first of the self-penned tracks. Straight away you get a different feel. Fast-tempo with a screaming reverb happy Guitar, dancing fingers on the Fret-board of the Slap-Bass. Cymbal crashing Drums that fill out the background of the whole song. At this point Smitty is using his Acoustic Guitar as an extension of his Vocals. Is Dan really just the Rooster on the Cover or the Band? 3.: Unlucky Lou: Slowing right down and giving you a complete new sound and feeling is a great ability Smitty and the Band poses. This has a touch of Country due the play of P.L.’s Slap-Bass. Unlucky? I don’t think so. That Rhythm is catching you and get your head boppin’. Herby is playing in great sync with Smitty. Pete is keeping it simple but effective with his Drums. 4.: Bedboogie: This is showing yet another side of all the abilities they have. Tempo changes when you don’t expect it and making it sound so good. From strumming along on the Guitar to cool riffs and a solo to break up the song nicely. Drums and Slap-Bass making sure this track sounds full and pushing the Vocals right to the front. 5.: Shake Your Hip: More of a Rock’n’Roll feel that is guaranteed to get you dancing. This sounds like a real session that was played on the spot. Full of Rhythm Guitar, reverb heavy Guitar, dry sounding Drums that drives the track on and a Slap-Bass that seemed never to stop. You can hear the influence of German Rockabilly from the 80’s. 6.: Gunslinger: Great way that the Slap-Bass and Drums dictate the tempo and the Guitar stays slightly to the side to make space for the Vocals and then steps in with a little solo to break up the track. If you listen careful you can hear the Rhythm Guitar and Slap-Bass have a little battle between them. The way they work of each other is great. Finger picking Lead Guitar that gives of a Darrel Higham vibe. The Drums mix a tiny bit of Jazz into the track and that gives everything a super cool feel. 7.: Rockin’ Crowd: Head boppin’ comes to mind. Down-tempo with Drums and Rhythm like a Mississippi Steam Boat. Beautifully integrated Slide-Guitar to give it the real Country/Hillbilly feel. 4 Guys just jammin’ around a Fire. Raw and pure. 8.: Wild Wild Party: From Head boppin’ to dance-floor by only some tempo change. The Lead Guitar goes into some insane riff and earworm that gets stuck in your head. Clean, crisp Drums that are used as a solid foundation. Soft, cool breezing Rhythm Guitar and an even cooler Slap-Bass to bring it all together. 9.: Rooster Stroll: This is the edge of 70’s early 80#s Rock’n’Roll that. This is a Lead Guitar that sreams Rooster Stroll. Just ever so slightly in the back you have the 70’s Drums and a very subtle Slap-Bass that nearly sounds like a E-Bass. Vocals are way different and more Neo-Rockabilly and shows the ability of changing styles and vocal tone. 10.: Crazy Dream: Back to the roots of the 50’s Rockabilly. Energy driven track that paints the picture of the band just around one microphone. Swinging Lead Guitar, punchy Slap-Bass, hammering Drums and rough Vocals all build on solid Rhythm. What more do you want. 11.: Fancy Things: Yee-haw. Transports you right to the Saloon with this Western influenced track. Drums played with brushes to give it a softer sound, that in return elevates the Slap-Bass with dry sounding slaps. Finger picking from a Country Guitar with lots of reverb and then Smitty’s slightly sad and rough vocals paint the perfect picture. 12.: I Date A Hooker: Well would ya? Steaming right into the up-beat tempo of Country & Western with some Rockabilly. Happy uplifting Vocals that makes you nod your head. Driving force from the Rhythm Guitar that incorporates the finger picked Slap-Bass. Drums like your elevated heartbeat (well you picked the Hooker). And all this interlaced with some cool western riffs. 13.: Please Don’t Go: Storming towards the end of this album. Smitty and The Rockin’ Roosters speed up this track to a fast-tempo Rockabilly Dance-floor filler. Well if he asked so nice and you see the Guitar-strings on fire, Drum-sticks lit like matches and smoke coming from the Slap-Bass you will stay for one more. 14.: Bonus Track: Love At First Sight (featuring Frl.Kitty): This is awesome. Love song wrapped in a bit of Elvis and Buddy Holly mixed with the angelic Vocals of Miss Kitty, lets your heart meld. Slow dance is on the cards. Love it.
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