Saturday, 22 May 2010

JERRY KING & THE RIVERTOWN RAMBLERS - OCALA BABY



JERRY KING & THE RIVERTOWN RAMBLERS - OCALA BABY
EL TORO RECORDS ETCD 4096

Ocala Baby is the latest release for Cincinnati quartet, Jerry King and the Rivertown Ramblers, on the great El Toro label. The band consist of King on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jason Roeper on lead guitar, "Jumpin" Jeremiah Brockman on double bass and "Swingin'" Dave Johnson on drums.

For anyone who’s never heard them before, they are a rock ‘n’ roll band with a less frenetic sound than most bands go for. These intersperse their rockers with a fair number of ballads and mid tempo numbers with backing vocals. If you had to compare them with any 50’s act I’d probably place them in the Ral Donner category. The youTube clip at the bottom features a great song of theirs from a few years ago and will give you the flavour of their sound.

Throughout their career they’ve tended to write their won material and on this latest they’ve written all fifteen numbers. There’s not a bad song amongst them, which is an amazing feat when you consider that this diverse album sees them sing rockaballads, piano led rock ’n’ roll, some straight ahead rockabilly and even a couple of country influenced tracks.

Guest Christopher Girton helps get the album off to a great start with some pumping piano. The best of the genuine rockabilly numbers is Epilepsy Betty. Do You Mind is a lovely ballad that shows King’s vocals to great effect and again sounds like Hayden Thompson and competes with I Can’t Do this Anymore for best ballad. Tell Me That You Love Me is a Johnny Cash Sun era styled slowie, while Will I Ever Love Again and I Apologise are pure Ral Donner.

Her Whispers is a neat song that’s hard to categorise, so why bother! Just put it in the “bloody good” box. My favourite track at the moment is Kisses Of Fire, which has the western sound that Mack Stevens excels at – in fact, this number sounds like Hayden Thompson being backed by the Mack Stevens band.

Great band, great album, great label. Nuff said.