"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
If blues were an extended family, rockabilly would be its slightly crazed cousin, the one whose wild, untamed lifestyle keeps it forever skirting trouble; the bad boy whom other family members can't help but love, whose perpetual sneer hides a heart of gold. The one born of an unholy marriage between the blues itself, a heapin' helpin' of country, and the very earliest explorations of that new-fangled music the kids call rock 'n' roll.
The Starlight Drifters are too young to have lived through the era of ducktails, hot rods, and malt shoppes. As a result their take on it all is informed with a sense of fin de siecle irony; in short, they clearly love it but can't in good conscience take it too seriously. Doesn't stop 'em from absolutely nailing it, though.
"Thirteen To Go" is the band's third disc, and it's utterly, gloriously perfect. Virtually every note is drenched in reverb. Vocalist Bill Alton sings with passion and abandon, often employing that ever-so-cool hiccupping effect one finds nowhere else but in rockabilly. Guitarist Chris Cassello has more tricks up his sleeve than a greaser has smokes, with tone to spare and a surprise at every turn. Dave Roof slaps the doghouse bass as though there's no tomorrow, and drummer Billy Mack Cowen keeps things just as simple as they should be; together the two are rhythmically irresistible. Chris, Dave, and Billy all contribute backing vocals, adding immeasurably to the band's full sound.
Eight of the disc's thirteen tracks are originals, with all but Mr. Roof taking a crack at writing. Covers include Conway Twitty's "Long Black Train" and the country classic "Wolverton Mountain." The arrangements are unfailingly intelligent, with a nod-and-a-wink, tongue-in-cheek sensibility that manages to be full of both good humour and fond respect. (Somehow it seems utterly appropriate that the disc was recorded in Las Vegas; there's a thick layer of cheese on it, but hey, cheese is just fine when it's intentional!).
It seems there's a mini-rockabilly revival every few years; must be because it's just so irresistible, at least when played with the ebullient and joyous exuberance the Starlight Drifters bring to the table. Every blues fan ought to have at least a little in his or her collection; whether you're a hard-core fan or not this is an ideal addition.
Fun from beginning to end - my very highest recommendation!
Rollin' Rock Records
2460 Casey Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89120 USA
The Starlight Drifters
1595 Pauline Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI USA
Phone : (734) 994-1841
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