Reviews roundup – Danzig vs. The Knickerbocker All-Stars vs. Stiff Staff vs. Pamela Davis
Danzig fans have been getting teased about this covers album for years now. But it’s finally here, a long five years after the last Danzig release, “Deth Red Sabaoth”. To be honest, though, Mr Danzig hasn’t actually released a must buy since “4” in 1994, and with only two band albums in eleven years, one suspects the creative well has run dry. Hence the covers album.
To his credit, he hasn’t went for many obvious choices, so you’re going to encounter some obscurities alongside the expected Elvis and Black Sabbath tunes (that would be ‘Let Yourself Go’ and ‘N.I.B’, respectively). And even the Elvis tune is an odd one, from his once seen, instantly forgotten 1968 movie, “Speedway”.
Things start off with a punk cover of a Dave Allan & The Arrows song, and a garage visit to the Nightriders. They’re the kind of thing that Misfits fans will lap up, whereas Danzig fans are sitting waiting for the Elvis / Sabbath back to back which follows them. He takes on a couple of unusual Aerosmith and ZZ Top songs, and comes out a winner, before heading back to the sixties, for the Troggs, Young Rascals and Everly Brothers.
Is it a winner? Um, not really. Considering how long he’s been brooding over this, it falls flat in a few places, but fans of his pre Danzig days will probably enjoy the return to lo-fi. There is a great EP in here, but you’ll probably weed out half of what’s on offer.
THE KNICKERBOCKER ALL-STARS
Go Back Home to The Blues
Last year’s album from the Knickerbocker All-Stars, “Open Mic At The Knick” was a real treat. I said about that “It’s a big band, with a fantastic horn section, and they breathe new life into some hoary old blues chestnuts, which have been done every which way but loose, but come across here as reinvigorated.”
And nothing has changed, with a great brass section and a triumvirate of singers, looking back to the good old days when folk like Bobby Bland and Roy Brown ruled the roost, with the formers ’36-22-36′ a real highlight. The other essential number sees them taking on Guitar Slim’s ‘Something To Remember You By’. and they’re right. There is no way you’ll forget it.
The band is simply outstanding with the piano work of Al Copley simply amazing. This is by far, the best party you’ll get invited to this year, so if jump blues and swing is your thing, then you need to be listening to this.
Off to Switzerland now for some sleaze metal meets eighties glam metal, in the shape of the splendidly named Stiff Staff. After all, if you’re going to play this kind of music, you may as well have the name to match.
And it’s all rather good. They’ve been sitting playing their Motley Crue and “Appetite For Destruction” records, and thought “I can do that”. I’m guessing that the members of the band may be operating under pseudonyms, but if transpires that lead vocalist Randy Andy, guitarist and backing vocalist Dick Fuxxx, guitarist Lex Climaxx, bass guitarist and backing vocalist Eddie Quicksilver, and drummer Nicky Sick were actually born with those names, then its no surprise that they ended up in the band.
It’s a fun ride from start to finish, especially as they specialise in the earlier, trashier spectrum. So it’s more Easy Action and Hanoi Rocks than it is the big, cleaner, American style. But they can crank out a catchy riff, and once you’ve heard tunes like ‘Rock This City’ and ‘Pose Your Ass Off’, you’ll be looking out the eyeliner a bit sharpish. They’ve even got the legally obligatory power ballad to keep the ladies happy. It’s like the nineties never happened. Hurrah for that!
Finally, for today, and it’s album number eleven from singer / songwriter Pamela Davis, this actually serves as a kind of greatest hits, as it sees her revisiting songs from her lengthy back catalogue.
Now I haven’t heard any of the preceding ten, although it seems she has diverged into the world of new age and ambient, but this sees her returning to the world of pop rock. She’s a very good musician, and has forty years of teaching music behind her, so the instrumentation works well.
She also has a very pleasant voice, and if the world of soft rock is your thing, then the seventies vibe of ‘You Showed Me (What Love Can Do)’, ‘Restless Eyes’ and ‘Just a Memory’ may well float your boat.