Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Bullets - Final Race (Stage Records)

Track listing: Final Race / Little Sister / I'm Sorry / Ramblin' Gal / She's Wicked / You Treat Me Badly / Daniela / One Cup Of Coffee / Don't Pass Me By / I Don't Know / Holiday Memories / I Wanna Be Alone / Baby Blue / Pulsar

The global influence of rockabilly takes a detour to Thessaloniki, Macedonia where the Bullets formed in 1988. That's a twenty year unbroken run which has seen them build up a local following around Greece without ever becoming one of the big players on the European circuit. They hope that can change with this release on Stage Records. For a group of such longevity they appear to have seen very few recording action. Their debut didn't come until 2003 and since then it's basically been the odd track on the odd compilation. Well they're here now and are making up for lost time.

It's one of the most diverse albums I've heard for ages with splashes of doo-wop, a little bit of psycho and plenty of rockabilly. The title track is great neo-rockabilly in the Restless category and they storm through the Fuzztones' She's Wicked. Sister Mary takes the lead vocals on the doo-wopper I'm sorry that wouldn't have been out of place on the Grease soundtrack - don't let that put you off though, it's good. I don't know goes from tender doo-wop to a manic call-and-response rocker that somehow works. There's a touch of the Stray Cats to Ramblin' Gal, which goes like a hotrod. There's surfabilly with You Treat Me Badly while Daniela has the Jets sound. They revisit the Cotton brothers for Holiday Memories, which could have come out of Northampton such is the sound they get on this rockin' bit of doo-wop.

The cover of Elvis' Little Sister is blistering with savage guitar and a hard driving beat that could be the king of the strollers on dancefloors for years to come. Gene's Baby Blue is rock solid and would have done his leathers proud. Not for the faint hearted, but a great version from the piano to the backing vocals. Glen Glenn's One Cup Of Coffee (And A Cigarette) bounces along nicely and rounds off a great trio of covers. Sometimes too much diversity can hamper an album, not so here though. This is an enjoyable release which should offer something for everyone.

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