THE CHEVTONES - FOOLIN' AROUND
The Chevtones – Foolin’ Around
Released 2022 on The Chevtones label - contact the band directly for purchase!
Reviewed 15th January 2023 by Jailhouse John & Kate
The Chevtones are:
Dean Lloyd - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Conrad Di Ianni- Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Terry Simpson - Slap Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Kubik- Drums,Backing vocals.
Additional musicians: The Reyfordaires and Pat Reyford, saxophone and bongos.
It may be a grim, hurricane-filled night in North Germany outside my hotel room, but inside it’s sunny Hollywood boulevard as I’ve plugged Foolin’ Around by home counties legends The Chevtones into my laptop. Their brand of authentic 1950s style Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockabilly and Surf is sunshine in a cardboard sleeve, and thanks to the fine people at Retro Rose Studio we can plug right into that mono sound without compromising on quality. With quite the rockabilly pedigree between them (they’re alumni of the Moonlighters, Crybabies, the Backbeats, Crazy Jay and the Partytimers, Cat and the Hot Tin Trio, the Firelites and the Atomiks…) we know we’re in safe hands when it comes to starting a bop, sock hop, stroll or just soundtracking doing the washing up. Nine of the ten tracks are original recordings, the one exception being a cover of the Johnny Burnette’s Rock and Roll Trio’s “Lonesome Tears In My Eyes”. This record is the sweet caramel popcorn at the drive in movie theatre, a gentle treat from an easier time, and you will want to keep this one on repeat when you’re cruising around in your Cadillac.
Foolin’ Around – A strong opening with the title track that owes a debt to “Baby Let’s Play House”, with a strong bass and a happy guitar line that jumps in at just the right moment. I love the ‘off mic’ shouts from Dean because it makes it that much easier to imagine you’re at the show, and that long, smooth ‘around’ on the end is a really nice tough.
Otherside Of Town – A mid paced stroller, and if the first ten seconds don’t hook you with that sweet piano touch then you aren’t listening closely enough. It’s a gorgeous, age old tale of looking at the object of your affections that requires a couple of listens to fully appreciate the details. The clicks from Terry’s bass and snare rolls from Rick pop in there so subtly and just give us that extra layer of fun.
Move A Little Closer – Another mid paced track with moody vocals and some nice guitar licks about how to make your intentions clear to that special someone. It’s great how on a vocal-heavy track like this the rest of the band take a respectful step back without compromising on what they’re adding to the song, especially those chimes from Conrad’s guitar. If I told you this was an undiscovered gem from 1954, you’d believe me.
How Can I Go On Lovin You? – A good bopper with slap bass for days and those fabulous echoes on the vocals. Mournful and full of feelings without becoming over sentimental, it builds and builds from the rhythm guitar into and shows that it’s not all sweetness and light: these guys are capable of a lot of depth.
Groovediggin’ – A instrumental track with good guitar picking and a touch of “Guitar Boogie” in there too, because sometimes you just need to give the folks in the audience a chance to tap their feet. It’s great to hear Conrad let loose and let the guitar do it’s thing, and this has got to be a big one at their live shows!
Till The End Of Time – This is a nice doo wop ballad with good backing vocals because every record needs the slow-dance smoochy number. I’m not usually the biggest fan of doo-wop and even I got suckered into feeling the love with this one.
Lonesome Tears – Another ballad with a nice country-style vocal with a twangy guitar backing. If Hank Williams had managed to beat the booze and moved to the city, he’d record this song.
Belong To You – A Latin beat and some spooky sixties sax slide this track in. Secret agent vibes and alluring witches take it south of the border, and I need this track to turn into a collaboration with Carlos and The Bandidos.
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes – Not to be confused with track 7, this is a capable cover of the track written and first recorded by the Johnny Burnette Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio with this sweet latin vibe that’s floated in from the last track on the breeze. It’s all about the percussion and island spirit that makes this a really fun track despite the sadness of the lyrics.
You Don’t Love Me – A good rocker to end on and the backing vocals make this my favourite track on the album. I really enjoy how the Chevtones take the saddest subject matter and lyrics, but somehow make them optimistic and something I want to dance to. It’s just got everything: precise guitar touches, all the slap bass you could want and the potential for a singalong.
As we get closer to spring and edge away from the grim weather, you need to crack open the latest Chevtones album as I did to blow those winter cobwebs away and get you thinking about sunnier times. It’s an album with cracking musicianship, a real retro sound and paddles through the rockin’ genres without losing its signature sweetness, and perfect for a playlist for any decade.