Rocka Boogie / Rocka Billy: Just Won't Stop!
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Back in 1956, Bobby Lowell was known as "the Elvis of Nebraska." His single, "Um Baby Baby," cracked Billboard's Top Ten, and he was off and running. In years to come, he would find and head Roto Records, the label responsible for Boxcar Willie, among others. Forty-three years later, in 1999, Lowell has laid down some smooth rockabilly tracks that are sure to please his long-time fans. From "Bye Bye" to remakes of his 1956 tunes "Um Baby Baby" and "16 Chicks," Lowell rocks his black slacks and swings his cat chain like it was 1956 again. "The Mother Load" finds the second generation Rocka Boogie Boys laying down some real classic sounding rockabilly, without the restrictions of the 1990s' political correctness. Lowell delivers a heartfelt narrative to set the stage for a couple of rocking instrumentals, dedicating them to Marshall Lytle, bassist for Bill Haley and the Comets. Both "Johnny Thunder" and "Rockaboogie Boogie" are real infectious instrumental tunes, with all the flavor of those bygone days of penny loafers and bobby socks. The last two tracks on the CD feature Janice K. (known to many as "The Lady Elvis") on vocals. Upon first listening, the vocals seem somewhat bizarre in comparison to the rest of the set, and "Rockabilly Heart" is by far the low point on an otherwise hip record. However, Janice's vocals on "Snow Is on the Mountain" fare much better, with her baritone voice actually hinting at a sound similar to the King. Lowell is not only a rockabilly legend, but with his new release, he has created a great time capsule that proves that there may be snow on the roof but there's still plenty of fire in the furnace. ~ Michael B. Smith, Rovi