Release Date: 05.18.99
Record label: hepcat records
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
"God be Merciful to Me, a Sinner"
by: steven jacobetz
The best way to describe this album and band may be to fantasize that if Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly could somehow be resurrected after being dead for 40 years, they could sit in with The Belmont Playboys right away and feel as if they hadn't missed a thing.
True, this style of music hasn't been cutting edge since about 1955, but that's the charm of it. Leave it to bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead to pioneer new musical directions, the music played by this rockabilly revival band is rock and roll stripped back to its basics. The Belmont Playboys know that all one really needs to rock are three chords, bass and drums (sometimes with a sax thrown in), and a singer singing silly, 50s style bubble-gum type lyrics. It ain't deep, but it still kicks butt, especially when it's captured live like this in a small club.
If this stuff doesn't get you up out of your chair and dancing, or at least tapping your foot, there is something definitely wrong with you. Go get some help fast.
This performance was recorded in Atlanta in December 1998 and it sounds like it was a great time for everyone there. This was the kind of music that Brian Setzer was playing with The Stray Cats back in the 80s before he went in his new swing jazz direction.
The only problem with this release could be overkill. With 24 tunes and over 70 minutes of music, one can get tired. The retro style starts to wear thin about two- thirds of the way through. There is a limit to the number of fast rockers a listener can enjoy consecutively without taking a break for a drink. Had they cut 15 or 20 minutes from the album, this would have been the perfect live representation of the band.
The assortment of tongue-in-cheek covers and references one would hope for at a good live show are all here. The band lets the good times roll. They cover the theme from "The King of the Hill" TV show, along with "Rawhide." The melody of "Dixie" can be heard on the guitar during "Rock Me Baby." These are songs almost anyone should be able to recognize.
"Chaparral" begins with hard rock guitar riffs from AC/DC and Metallica (properly acknowledged in the liner notes). This interlude features "Enter Sandman", providing a welcome and unexpected contemporary reference. The bottom line is this is a very good live record, capturing the party vibe of rockabilly music at its best.
The Belmont Playboys are great at what they do and the music is loads of fun, but after all, the band is an anachronism. The sense of overkill and the utter lack of originality bring the final rating of this CD down to just a little above average.
This is a recommended purchase for parties and for fans of 50s rock and roll, but it is not essential listening by any means. That's not to say I don't like it a lot. I love it. The album is a blast. Enjoy the "Playboy Party" and rock on till dawn.
Just remember, as the title implies, after "One Nite of Sin" you may not feel so good about things when you wake up in the morning.