Saturday, 21 February 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week - Number 43

Ronnie Dawson - Party Town (No Hit Records)

It seems hard to believe that there was a life before Ronny Dawson, but it's true. I don't remember being aware of him until the release of the ridiculously brilliant album on No Hit Records which gave us all his early boppers from Do Do Do to Jump And Run. Maybe his songs had come out on compilations but if so they'd never registered with me. As great as those 50's songs were, it was only the beginning. I'm struggling to think of any other artist who came out of that era but produced their premier body of work 40 years later. He sort of reinvented himself and blew away the crowds with some propane fuelled rockabilly that simply scorched like no-one else on the scene. Always employing the best musicians from Lisa Pankratz to Tjarko Jeen his live shows were a sweaty mesmeric affair that were virtually impossible to follow. The best thing was, he made albums in the 90's which were just as good as the live shows, original songs that became as legendary as the man. Part Town is one such number, written by Ronnie and former Planet Rocker Eddie Angel for the sublime Just Rockin' & Rollin' album that Ronnie produced with Liam Watson of Toe Rag Studios and Barney Koumis, owner of the No Hit. This is big sound rockabilly with Angel on lead guitar supported by Ronnie and Tjarko, Naokazu Tone on bass and Bruce Brand on drums. As on most of the album the sound is further enhanced with the vamping of horn-men Alex Bland and Ned Bennett.

Recommended listening: From the early days there's Rockin' Bones, Who's Been Here, Do Do Do and Action Packed to start with. From the second coming there's pretty much anything on the Just Rockin' & Rollin' and Monkey Beat albums including the title songs, Mexigo, Roadhouse Rock, a great interpretation of Ghost Riders In The Sky and my favourite, Veronica.

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