Reviews roundup – The Electric Buffalo vs. Ginger St. James vs. The Blues Rebels vs. Bloodmother vs. The Strutters
THE ELECTRIC BUFFALO
Keepin’ It Warm
Southern rock from Spain. Whatever next. But that’s what you’re getting here from the Electric Buffalo.
Turns out they released an album way back in 2009 called “Hidin’ From The Butcher”, which is a stupid assed name for an album, but Álvaro Bárcena (guitar and voice), Alejandro Espina (bass) and Wilón deCalle (drums) certainly know how to rock up a storm in the manner of their influences who include Gov’t Mule, Little Feat and the Allman Brothers, amongst others.
As someone who fell in love with southern rock the day I heard ‘Blackhearted Woma’ by the Allman Brothers are buying a ten bob, second hand album called “The Age of Atlantic”, this is the kind of thing that makes my heart soar. For sure, the songs aren’t up there with the greats, but the passion and love for the music makes a huge difference.
‘Wide Screen’, ‘Walkin’ On Thin Ice’ and ‘Drivin’ Drunk’ are the early favourites, but it’s safe to say, this will be getting a good few spins in the future.
GINGER ST. JAMES
One For The Money
Ginger St. James is a one time burlesque performer from Hamilton, Ontario, who has turned her hand to rockabilly music. I always thought it was nice of the Canadian colonies to name a town after me, and it’s even nicer now that this record is around.
Even better, it’s a proper, old-fashioned album, which knocks out nine tracks in half an hour, just the way that this style of music should be played. This is her second album, and with a red hot back up band, she romps through the potent blend of rock’n’roll and country that makes rockabilly such a vital listening experience.
Her voice is stretched on some of the songs, but when it all comes together, as it does on ‘Pour Me’ and ‘Train Whistle’, it’s an absolute joy. The main point of reference is probably Wanda Jackson, but Ms St. James has the benefits of modern recording on her side, so the music just jumps right out at you. She goes almost full on hillbilly in a couple of places, which should spread her appeal to country fans looking for that old time sound. A really enjoyable release.
THE BLUES REBELS
I encountered The Blues Rebels last year when their “Open Road” album came out. I was quite taken with my first dose of Israeli blues, and now they’re back with an equally good follow-up, in the shape of “Voodoo Land”.
This time around they’ve got in your actual blues legend, Joe Louis Walker, to produce the album. They’d played some live shows together a few years back, but now he travelled to Israel to help the band present their new material.
And it’s a good album, as Dov Hammer and Andy Watts know how to write a blues tune. It’s still mainly seventies based blues rock, with a few dips back into the history of the blues. Songs like the title track, ‘Good Enough’, ‘Well Run Dry’ and ‘Everybody Loves My Baby’ (which features Joe Louis Walker) grab you first time around. The bad are good, and the harmonica playing is still of the highest order.
Fans of slightly retro blues rock should give this a listen.
Aspects In A Lifetime
Off to Germany now for some prog rock. Or, if the band are to be believed, progressive folk-rock. And having given this a spin, that’s pretty much bang on.
They cite their influences as New Model Army, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Levellers, Sepultura, Periphery, Tesseract and Baroness, and an eclectic mix like that is certainly reflected in their songs and arrangements. They’ve had an EP out before, with EP “Ballads of Soil and Spirit” in 2012, and we’ve got this invigorating release.
They’re very percussion driven with full on drums and bass, overset with some excellent and left guitar work, which make songs like ‘Vicious Circles’, ‘To The Sea’ and ‘Life Runs Cold’ really stand out from the crowd. One for the progsters who like things to be adventurous.
When you name your album after a Motörhead track, you’d better get your chops right. And to a large extent, they have.
Turns out that The Strutters started out as a cover band. You won’t be surprised to learn that this included Kiss, but they also dipped into the aforementioned Motörhead, alongside Black Sabbath and others. As many did before them, they started doing some of their own tunes before splitting up in 2012.
Fast forward and they decided the world needed some of those songs saved for posterity, and here they are in all their seventies rock meets eighties metal stylee. And they have songs about food, sex, masturbation, drinking and AC/DC. Now my German O Grade is several decades out of date, but I’m pretty sure they’re right mucky buggers.
The riffs are good, the German vocals may put some folks off, but listening to the likes of the stomach churning ‘Maden Im Speck’, the filthy ‘Nicht Ins Gesicht’ and the self explanatory ‘AC/DC Rip-Off’ is a fun way to spend some time.