Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Roomates - Lost on Belmont Avenue

The Roomates - Lost on Belmont Avenue

The Roomates are to Dion’s Belmonts what Darrel Higham is to Eddie Cochran. This is the English quartets fifth album and second for Ace Records, released a few months ago in celebration of their 20th Anniversary. They are steeped in the white vocal groups of the late 50’s, early 60’s such as the Mystics, the Elegants, Vito and the Salutations and especially the aforementioned Belmonts. Of the generous thirty tracks on offer, Steve and Mark Webb, Nick Kennedy and Glen Brentnall wrote no less than nineteen of them with the covers being well chosen, less obvious numbers.

The opener, Echoes of the Past gives Carlo and the boys a name check and it sets the scene for the whole album. They have the crystal clear vocals that the white-woppers specialised in and they have the same bounce and general happy feeling that their heroes employed. Throughout the album, they are as tight as a drum with clever backing vocals to enhance the strong leads (witness If You’ve Got A Girl).

Highlights of the ballads for me are Remember, She Won’t Cry and Wanderin’. In the rockin’ mode the standouts are Dance, Dance Girl and a great cover of the Searchers’ Wow Wow Baby. Surely Human Angel is Dion and the Belmonts, not the Roomates. There are a couple of songs that don’t cut the mustard like Internet Baby and I’m Still Countin’, but otherwise the songs and performances are top notch.

Put this on a crackly twelve song vinyl long player and people would swear that it was a long lost Laurie Records album. Great performances from a quality outfit.

Check out this version of The Shrine of St Cecilia, performed in a subway in true doo-wop style. Then check out their amazing version of Elvis and the Jordanaires version of I Want I Need You I Love You with Axel of The Downhomers in Germany, 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where do I find a link ??