THE GREAT PRETENDERS - LIVE FROM 'ELVIS BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL IN GLASTONBERRY CLUB MOSCOW 2023.'
Released – January 2023. Reviewed by - Rockin Rebel 8th February 2023. Live at the Elvis birthday festival by the Great Pretenders, who are a modern-day Russian Stonegreasers Rockabilly Band Moscow, Russia.
Band Members. Sergei Kuteinikov - vocal, guitar. Oleg Ivanin - guitar. Alexey Vihrev - guitar. Vladimir MaLashonok - drums.
Review Formed in 1995 and started gigging 1996 alongside some top names including the Jets and wildlife willie and the ramblers in and around Europe. They took their name from a book by Neal Shover, about small-time criminals in the USA. This album was recorded at the Club Glastonberry in Moscow, which opened in 2011with a unique design in the best traditions of the pubs of old England, named after the UK’s largest festival. The album is being promoted by Alexander Golubev who is well known on the scene for putting on events and scouting new and up coming bands, bands like the Red Elvises and RadioNyanya. The published through Master Disk Company. Four of the tracks are original recordings from 2007 and the rest are cover versions. So let's get the volume up, coffee is to hand and away we go.
Track by track. I told you so (Barrett) A song written by none other than Paul Franklyn "Legs" Barrett, the rock n roll agent and manager who worked with some top artist including Matchbox, Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers, and Linda Gail Lewis but was more famous for managing 80s rock n roller Shakin’ Stevens. This is a good version by the lads. Starting with cymbals' beat the bass comes into its own with gentle guitar in the background. Vocals are nice and clear. Awesome track to start.
Flashin’ T (Boorer) First featured on the album by Cowboy Barnes & His Drinking Buddies 'Big Beer Bonanza' in 1994. One of least known tracks by Boz Boorer. Performed well by the band. Classic guitar during the break with the bass pushing through with a mighty thumb. Nice to hear some different covers from way back.
Teddy Boy Boogie (Grogan) Debut single in 1975 for Crazy Cavan 'n' the Rhythm Rockers. This is a great tribute to the one and only Cavan Grogan self-penned track, keeping close to the original sound by the band and offering a fair rendition of this truly great track.
On the move (M. & B. Winters) Faster paced track of the Tommy Steele and The Steelmen’s version from 1958. Nice guitar opening the track the bass takes the lead into the vocals, then all in together to a create a good rockin version. Once again, it's nice to hear some classics being re vamped.
Meter Maid (Torres) Once again, a rare track to be given the band's touch. First released on the various artist album, Hot Rodders Choice from Rhythm Bomb Records. Replacing the original intro from a sax to electric guitar works well. Sergei's vocals go deep on this track giving it a more fifties feel to it. Nicely mixed track.
Hound Dog (Leiber & Stoller) Big Mama Thornton originally released in 1952 but this is a cover of the 1956 recording by Elvis. Keeping to the roots of the rock n roll version, this is a well delivered version with its own touch. The song itself as been recorded over 250 times from all genres of music. Great jiver.
Trouble (Leiber & Stoller) Nice version of the song featured in the 1958 film King Creole, but this version is more like the version from The King's return in 1968 mixed with the modern sound of the Stray Cats. Finishing with a rockin outro.
Race with the Devil (Vincent & Davis) "Race with the Devil" b/w Gonna Back Up Baby was never considered a hit in 1956 only reaching number 28 in the uk charts and 96 in the U.S. Another great cover of the band, once again keeping to the original with a twist and touch of their own.
Best Looking Girl in Town (Cotton) This was the flip side to the Jets 1984 release Party Doll single which was written by Ray and produced by the band. You can hear the influence of the Jets because, well, the Great Pretenders have played alongside them! Some great guitar riffs, the drums appear more at the front and the bass takes a step back, good version.
Rip It Up (Blackwell & Marascalco) Really well engineered intro with the drums twiddling away with just a few licks from the guitar. Vocals are going higher to hit them rockin lyrics. Bass takes his place with some nice slapping in the middle instrumental.
Cat called Domino (Orbison & Petty) 1957 sew the first recording of this track at Sun studios, Memphis. Vocally it comes across rustic but for the eleventh song of this live set its totally understandable. The band still smashing the dancefloor with this now classic Orbison cover.
Crusin’ (Vincent & Davis) No finer song to end a rockin live set with. The band really gel on stage giving a true rockabilly fifties feel to the show. I can imagine the dancefloor rammed with jives and boppers. The track was credited to Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis. It was released originally in 1957 and has become a favourite of the rockin scenes playlist
Greaser’s Bop (Kuteynikov & Ivanin) The first of four bonus tracks from the band that was recorded in 2007. This is a nice mid ranged tempo track. its just over one and half minutes long but packs a lot into it.
Let’s Kick the Mods (Kuteynikov & Ivanin) Throwback to the sixties battle scene between the mods and rockers in Brighton is often bought up in the scene’s music, a famous track by the Stray Cats comes to mind. And is a firm favourite of the bikers in Russia according to the book by Richard Hume (Russia n Roll). Would love to hear this track really let go and rocked up. Maybe one day we will get a rockin version?
Alcatraz (Kuteynikov & Ivanin) Nice fast tempo track with some awesome riffs from the guitar on the intro. short track of just under two minutes. The title already tells the story of the song. A nice bit of bass to complete the tracks outro.
Hot pink cowboy boots (Johnson) Rockin out the album with a track written by Freda Johnson better known as Ravenna Du Mane of The Magnetics now known as Ravenna & The Magnetics.
Summary The Great Pretenders are the biggest rockabilly band to come out of Russia, they clearly enjoy the rockin scene and have been invited to many events across Europe. Covering many rare and classic tracks on this live cd will always get applause from the die-hard rock n rollers. Plus showing their own writing skills on several tracks can only get them further in our most loveable rockabilly scene. I wish them the best of luck.
Recommendation Hell yes! it’s a cd full of respect to some top artists with the band's own touch.