Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Black Cat Bone reviewed by Steve Jones

Black Cat Bone
Lee Rocker
Alligator Records
13 tracks

Lee Rocker is touring this summer with Stray Cats. This album is released to synch with the tour and it will please both Rocker and Stray Cats fans alike. Lee delivers 10 brand new sings plus three covers. This album picks up where his last CD left off- in a whir of rockabilly bopping. Some of the songs are familiar sounding, but that is just the nature of rockabilly. Lee is trying to recover the great sound of the Stray Cats in these tunes and he has pretty much succeeded.

To note, the CD is filled with short songs like we had in the old AM radio days before bands had to amaze us for 4 or 5 minutes. A quick intro, a few verses and choruses, perhaps a solo for 12 bars and then it’s done. Clean and even.

I’d have to say “The Highway is my Home” is my favorite song in the mix. Next to last on the CD, it delivers great guitar and bass work along with a good lyrical story. Following it is “Free Bass,” a solo bass effort that is just a beautiful way to close out this CD. Lee demonstrates his standup bass prowess and puts a nice little punctuation mark on his album.
I prefer the more up tempo stuff to the slower tunes. “Gone” opens up the album with a western flair that is pure rockabilly. Then in contrast, the title track “Black Cat Bone” is pure Stray Cats stuff, but slowed up and it just seems to drag a bit. Leon Payne’s “Lost Highway,” “Rebel” and “The Wall of Death” pick up the pace and Lee screams out the vocals in his gritty, driving style.

The CD grew on me after a few plays. My main complaint with it was the tempo of a lot of the songs- things seem just a little too slow here. But this is a well done album; I think “Racin’ With the Devil” is the better of Lee’s two Alligator efforts. It’s not too bad because being number two to a CD that I really, really loved is still a pretty good thing.

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