The Memphis Invaders – NO TRAIN AT THE STATION.
Released April 2023 CD Self produced Recorded & produced by Alan Bell at Stage Studios Halesowen Reviewed 21st April 2023 by Nick Constantine
Let's meet the band - Bob Spears - lead vocals John Goodey - Double bass Rob Millichip - Lead guitar Andy Skinny Jim Johnson - Drums The band are relatively newly formed, but there's nothing new about the wealth of experience that they share in the rockabilly world! John Goodey taught himself to play the upright slap bass, many years ago ( nearly as long ago that Keith Richard learnt to play guitar!) Over the years he has played in many bands, including the Sunset Valley Boys, The Railroaders, The Wildkatz ( founding member), The Shakers (not the recent one), Bopping The Blues (founding member), The Blue Sapphires, The Wildkatz trio, The Bravo Boys & Boogie Disease. In addition to this he has played several gigs for Norm and the Nightmarez, as well as depping for several bands, too many to list . Bob was the singer and fellow band member in the Sunset Valley Boys. Rob has played lead guitar with The Hayriders, The Bravo Boys, Boogie Disease & The Escobars, as well as depping for many, many bands over the course of his career . Andy has only been playing drums for a few years, but you'd think he'd been playing forever! This is their debut album, all tracks are written by the band and they have self-produced the CD. I would say that in the rockabilly genre, this is one of the best debut albums that I have ever heard! I could just end the review there, that says enough about how good it is, but I will add a bit more! The tracks on this album sound like they've been around forever! For example, Lonely, Lonely Heart evokes the Fifties sound perfectly and could have been an original track, March Of The Invaders would sit perfectly in an instrumental Sixties surf compilation and Which Way is straight out of the Eighties neo scene! They have absolutely nailed all styles of rock n roll & rockabilly with pure class, outstanding musicianship and superb production. This all stems from their vast experience, living and breathing rockabilly for the whole of their lives, they gel together as a band and in short, they've got it sussed! After listening to this album, I guarantee that at least one song will be stuck in your head and you will remember the rest like old friends!
Let’s check out the tracks after all that hype!
I'M DRIVING Starting off the album is what sounds like it's going to be a cover version of Radar Love by Golden Earring, with the opening first line exactly the same! It then continues at a helluva pace, driven along with the bass and drums and guitar licks, just cruising along with that nod & a wink to Radar Love!
GONNA BOP Slap bass intro, stuttery, staccato guitar, great catchy backing vocals, upbeat blues riff & a real emphasis on the 'bop' beat will make this a dancefloor filler of the future! Perfect rockabilly lyrics & delivery!
LONELY, LONELY HEART With a fab bass intro, it continues to be prominent throughout this bopper that's straight out of the Fifties! Very authentic vocals sounding like a Sun Records stablemate! Blown away!
NO TRAIN AT THE STATION Another bopper that reminds me of a Crazy Cavan and Matchbox style, but with a Neo influence to it. This is also similar in pace and style to Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee, if you could possibly imagine a mash up of all of those! No? Well you'll just have to have a listen for yourself then!
WHICH WAY Very, very 80's neo sound with great shout out backing! The bass is so prominent and fantastic! So who do you reckon it could have been by originally? Restless? Deltas? No! But you would think it was a cover of one of theirs!
BACK ON THE SCENE The guitar gets a chance for an intro on this very Fifties track! Think a long lost Eddie Cochran song, that's been covered by someone like Darrel Higham and you get the feel of this fast stroller with an outstanding bass!
MARCH OF THE INVADERS From the intro on here, we're left wondering exactly who the Invaders are? Aliens? Foreign Army? Tribute band? Jehovah's Witnesses? I reckon it's one of the Sixties Instrumental bands and this is the Memphis Invaders answer to them! They're saying, whatever you can do, we can do it too! Soaked in heavy reverb guitar, this takes you on an instrumental journey!
FOOLS GOLD Bass, drums, guitar, vocals, all in a perfect relationship! This is a neo track, but almost with an Eighties pop crossover mixed in there! So Roman Holliday (if anyone remembers them, but it's got a bit of that vibe!) Plus a little bit of Matt Bianco! Feel good, Top of the Pops rockabilly from that era! Love it!
TURN IT UP I love the Bo Diddley and jangly guitar intro to this and then love the way the guitar carries on with that great sound, morphing into a neo sound, very reminiscent of The Blue Cats!
WHISKEY & WINE Finishing the way they started, with a driving song, but they've put the foot down hard on the gas for this one, hurtling along at full throttle! A fast, frantic track, leaving us gasping for more! And I can't wait for more!
SUMMARY Just go and buy the album and listen to it and go and see them live! That's all folks. nuff said!