THE FIREBIRDS - STRIPES
Released 10/03/2023 on The Firebirds Record Label. Reviewed by Terry Mead 27/03/2023. Stripes from The Firebirds, a German band, is a mixture of Rock n Roll/Rhythm n Blues & Rockabilly with some Swing/Jazz.
The Band consist of: Guido Gentzel-Drums, vocals Konrad Schöpe-Electric bass/double bass, vocals Krusdy van Friday-Guitar and vocals. Henning Plankl-Saxophone, flute, vocals. Roy J. Martin -Piano, guitar, vocals
On this anniversary album "Stripes", the five Leipzig entertainment Rock 'n' Rollers The Firebirds give a great, catchy, and energetic performance over 13 songs 11 of which are self-penned on this album. Ostensibly oriented towards rock ́n ́roll and rhythm 'n' blues, the formation succeeds in a multifaceted ride through the music history of rock and blues.
Let’s Review track by track: You Don't Like To Rock 'n' Roll- Spontaneous start to this hundred miles per hour first track with a harmonising clapping beat. It's wild, crazy and full of energy, one for the stage Rockers.
Blinding Lights- First of two covers originally done by The Weeknd produced here in an up tempo Rockabilly version which has been well adapted. The Firebirds have pushed this tune to the limits here, catching the individual breaks from the sax, piano and guitar and the awesome beat of the drums throughout. Sweet Kisses-Lovely carefree intro and a neat bouncy beat to this one and the singalong vocals are a familiar rendition to the 1970s sound produced at that time. Mama Should Know- Nice swing sound number with a raunchy beat that will fill any dance floor, has some prestigious sax playing incognito. Boyfriend- Another great swing/jive beat number certainly one to show off your moves on the dance floor. It’s a great tune with superb backing vocals - credit to the boys. The Way Love Goes- Idyllic old radio style intro with a soft drum brush beat and beautifully sung vocal make this another top tune.
Moviestar- Laid back, smoochy little number telling the story of how he fell for a Movistar which has a typical 1950s theme running through it. Mr. Sunshine- Another of those old-time radio style intros and finishes to this foot tapping hand clapping tune straight out of the 1940s with some lovely background piano accompaniment. My Guitar- Lord Sutch style vocals on this track with some cool guitar licks telling the story of “My Guitar”. Area 51- Right from the start this tune is buzzing, definitely another floor filler with some awesome sax playing in the breaks, so swing by “Area 51” and have some fun. Down By The Sea- Hawaiian guitar serenade’s you at the start of this carefree subdued number which has you reminiscing of days by the sea with some clever Doo-Wop harmonising to add to the effects. Step By Step- Well, you heard it first on STB reviews, a cover of a New Kids On The Block song, done here with a Rockin’ beat rather than the original teen beat and contrasting harmonising vocals making it a lively jiver. There are some cool sax breaks along the way. Let The Good Times Roll- Now I was expecting a BB King cover (although I knew it wasn’t) but this is a fast-paced energy bomb tune to end with, a neat harmonising break which catches you out just when you think the song is going to end, before hitting the final crescendo. Again, there is well adapted sax and piano accompaniment along the way.
So, let’s summarise: What can I say that hasn’t already been said about these guys who stayed the test of time and are still out there producing albums like this. Great vocals & lyrics with harmonising and musical accompaniment the recipe for sure-fire tunes. An interesting mix to get you on your feet and a few to just take in recommend you order your copy now.
Band Biography in their own words: Insanity! More than 30 years ago, a rock'n'roll band was founded at a Leipzig school. Only five years pass from the first appearance in the auditorium to his own GbR and the tailor-made stage suits with black and white "stripes". Then it goes in quick succession, with more than 4,000 shows played to date, joint tours with world stars such as Chuck Berry or Bill Haley's Comets, own musical show productions and theme tours, the own festival weekender at Trebsen Castle and the cruise "The Firebirds Rock 'n' Roll Cruise". The quintet around the founding members Guido Gentzel and Konrad Schöpe knows only one direction: Further, but uphill! The professional entertainers have around 300 songs of the 50s and 60s in their program, but again and again they have proven with their own compositions that they can not only dress evergreens sexily new. In the meantime, the "Stripes" have become a trademark and the anniversary album of the same name puts it in a nutshell: Apart from the stormy versions of "Blinding Lights" (The Weekend) and "Step By Step" (New Kids On The Block), there are only The Firebirds originals here, which compete with the live program in their variety. Rock 'n’ Roll, Rhythm 'n 'Blues, Rockabilly, Country, Swing, Jazz, Blues, Surf, Soul, Doo Wop and 60's Pop is in the accurately and passionately recorded songs, which also have an amazing pop appeal. The crystal-clear and state-of-the-art production by Bernd Batke (Smokestack Lightnin') creates the perfect contrast to the nostalgic vibe of the music. 13 songs that impressively stage the class of the Firebirds, also as songwriters.