Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Last Avenue (Band) - Number 253

Last Avenue (Band)


I admit, until recently I had never heard of Last Avenue despite the fact that they apparently exist since 1998, originally as Mild'n and from 2006 on as Last Avenue. And I'm no stranger to Swiss Rock music, although I don't claim to have heard of every band in Heidiland. I'd guess, the ones I haven't heard of have either a very low profile, play only cover songs or make a ruckus in a genre I can't stand. Considering that the band has released five albums and a couple of singles, it's quite an achievement to remain below the surface.


But truth be told, it's probably not their fault. I've learned a major lesson regarding the Swiss music scene, it's very fragmented. Whatever is en vogue in the french part of the country is lost somewhere along the Röstigraben and vice versa. Same goes for the italian corner (Ticino), except in this case, the dividing line are the Alps. The problem is actually so bad, that a lot is lost between the Basel and the Zurich area. Bands that have cult status in the Northwestern part of the land of cheese and chocolate don't get a foot on the ground east of their natural habitat. And I'm not even starting on areas East of East St. Zurich or the scene around Bern or others. Case in point, Blues and Bluesrock bands don't have it easy around Basel, while around Zurich they seem to thrive. There are genres which are much more at home here that you won't find in abundance in other parts of the country.


Last Avenue call their music Hippie Rock and Classic Rock. There is something to be said for short and concise descriptions, but a lot is lost in translation and there is so much more. Not that Hippie Rock is a misnomer, personally, I think it's a bit vague, although I can see where it leads to. Classic Rock, although not a genre per se, is much more to the point (even though this is not the end of the rainbow). The associations made with regards to their music cover quite a range, but I must leave it to the listener to draw his/her own conclusions, suffice to say, I still hear traces (and sometimes a bit more than that) of Led Zeppelin. Maybe the band is out to crucify me now, but this was my first impression when I listened to "House Of Trash". Mind you, not throughout the CD, but it stood out several times.


House Of Trash (2006)

Definitely, the band is anchored in an updated 70s setting. The songwriting (all originals, btw) is outstanding and the execution of the songs is beautifully done. I've said it before, every band going to the lengths of doing their own songs gets a bonus point from me, wether I like what they're doing or not. The full CD is very organic and floats from track to track as it must be. In preparation for this post I've listened to the album many times and I don't yet see the day coming, where I'm getting bored with it. Probably never.


I don't want to single out any of the tracks, because they are all of high quality. Just let me mention some of the twelve highlights. "House Of Trash" sets the pace for what is to come. An opener that gets your attention immediately. It's a bit like the band has packed all their trademark antics into the one song. "Ten Years Today" is more of this 70s vibe. A mix of times long passed with a 21st century sprinkling. "Giving It Up" is a rocker but still founded in the music tradition. One thing that must be said about the music, even though the guitars scream sometimes, the drummer is present and the singer gives his all, they never drift into Heavy Metal, it's always solid Hard Rock (when the track calls for it). This is a prime example of their more "in your face" songs. "So Never" is a ballad, but I hasten to add, not one of those sleepy things that I usually turn off. "Just For You" is maybe a lost Led Zeppelin song. Grand! For this track alone you should buy the CD. "Speedway Lover" is another track that flows so seamlessly on the harder side of the genre and the guitar is just beautifully done. Even the breaks to a slower pace make sense. "Treetop" is the longest track on this CD (8:04) and a very interesting piece.


A commercial break and a word about the band. The current  line-up is as follows:


Martin Gaisser: Vocals, Guitars

Christian Schönbächler: Guitars, Vocals

Jérémie Bochet: Bass, Vocals

Simon Plüss: Drums


Swiss bands amaze me sometimes by their professionalism (yeah, I know, prejudice), even though they are not fulltime musicians (see for example flector) and Last Avenue are right in this square. The guitars are more than a notch beyond very good. The rhythm section (bass and drums) knows their drill as well and I have to highly recommend the guy(s) on vocal duty. In other words, this is a nice package with not a dud in sight.


I tried to find some other CDs on the market, but failed to do so (I might try again), but Last Avenue's management was so nice and sent me their "Greatest Hits" CD, their latest release (thanks Sibylle!), just to get me an idea about the progression the band made. One thing I don't get, why is the CD not in chonological order? Five Mild'n and eleven Last Avenue tracks culled from various albums.


Greatest Hits (2020)

Depends on what you're looking for in an album, an overview of decades of creative output or a condensed version of a moment in time, this is how you perceive the offerings on a CD. I find "Greatest Hits/Best Ofs" compilations, or the like, always difficult. It's almost like a band erases part of their past and who's to say what songs the listener wants to hear from their back catalogue. Having said that, I can see how the band has changed from Mild'n to Last Avenue (based on these two CDs only). There are traces of Last Avenue in the Mild'n songs. But five tracks is more of an educated guess than solid fact.


Listening to the Last Avenue tracks that are not on "House Of Trash" there is only one conclusion to be drawn from it, try and buy the other CDs (note to myself). "When You Are Smiling" is one of these Mild'n tracks and I get it where the Beatles comparison comes from. I'm not a Beatles fan at all, but this is beautiful. If you're a Beatles aficionado (and even if you're not) buy the "Greatest Hits" CD. "Rock'n'Roll, I'm Coming Home" is a Last Avenue song and one that makes me itchy about getting the full CD. This is a song (amongst many others from Last Avenue) why you should seek out the band. While I would put Mild'n in a progression in fact before Last Avenue, make no mistake, the band, back then, knew how to strut their stuff. So, I might have to go the Mild'n route as well. Honestly, worse things have happened to me.


I just missed a Last Avenue gig (together with flector) last weekend but I will be at one of their live events as soon as I can make room in my calendar. If you want to keep updated, visit the band's website at


or if you want to book them, please contact their management at


Sibylle 'Miami' Tanner

Etzelstrasse 38

8805 Richterswil








P.S.: Forgot one important statement above. A lot of singers in Swiss bands struggle with the English language and sound like Toni Vescoli on a good day, with their Swiss dialect shining more than through. Not so Last Avenue. I commend the guys on vocal duties for this as well. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Glorias - Live At Bar Manhattan Rheinfelden/Switzerland on November 6, 2021 - Number 252

 The Glorias - Live At Bar Manhattan Rheinfelden/Switzerland on November 6, 2021


After almost two years of being sidelined due to the pandemic, the Glorias finally made it onto the stage again. The big question was, how did they get through lockdowns and everything in between. Of course, the band rehearsed their repertoire in the interim on a regular basis, so I wasn't afraid that they might sink the performance. In fact, I was probably more confident in their abilities than certain members, who shall remain unnamed here, of the band.Well, it was back at the Bar Manhattan again where quite recently flector played their set (see one of the last posts below). 


The event wasn't just about the first live gig since February 2020, but also to showcase the songs of their last album (available on CD and LP). The Bar Manhattan is a rather small venue, but even then, it wasn't packed. But there was a good number of folks present and sometimes they made a ruckus for two, which about counts for a full audience. My only gripe is with the merchandising, as the band's back catalogue and the new albums didn't sell in the numbers that I expected. I truly hope that punters might find their way to the Atlantis Record shop in Kaiseraugst, where they can still stock up on more than 30 years of the Glorias history.

There were two sets that evening, the first one going to their new songs that can be found on "Timeless Zone" and the second one a sort of retrospective with a few covers thrown in. From the very first chords it was clear to me, that this was going to be a great gig. Sound was good, the intensity of the volume was just what a good Rock gig needed (even the DB meter on the wall agreed with me) and the band was in full flight from the word go. To me, it sounded real, it was real and it was smoking!


Of course, I've listened to their new album back and forth and there's always Alice in Wonderland, as to how a band can transfer their studio material to the stage. Perfect! The live setting was what this band needed and one could feel it. Free at last and they played not tense (as the unnamed member of the band hinted at) but in full flow. Don't ask me wether they played note perfect, I can't say, to me it was top all the way up. And if one or the other missed a beat or hit the wrong note once in a while (which I believe didn't happen), it didn't matter either. Just the fact that their music reached an audience which had a good night out was the icing on the cake.


Once again, I realized there's a world of difference between media such as CD/LP and live on stage. Precise playing (which you get on media as well) with the physical pressure from sound (which you don't get on your stereo - no matter how high end) and of not being the only one in the venue/room enjoying the proceedings. I need to point out, on my stereo at home, I can only listen medium volume, otherwise my neigbours would be on my back. And headphones are not really for me (even though I own a very good one, I never use it anymore). The songs were more intense and in your face and I especially watched Bernie and Marco on guitar. They both looked and sounded like they've never done anything else. Well, both of them are founding members of the Glorias, so, there it goes.

Morten on bass is also a longtime member and the mc for the band (or something like this). Morten actually played in a Dr. Feelgood covers only band a few years back and they did a good job too. I still have their CDs. The new drummer (whose name has just eluded me now - he's not on "Timeless Zone") must have had his first live gig with the band. Great drumming too. I've overheard people talking about him and they were impressed by the way he did what he did. For all the wrong reasons, as they seemed to put him in the hardrock, heavy metal corner. No, he's a very good Rock drummer and that's what he showed that evening. Maybe in another life he did some Heavy Metal, but not this evening. And if folks were impressed with, what they called his heavy drumming, I think they got it wrong. The stool wasn't taken by the Animal from the Muppet Show.


And then it was time for the second set. A look back at more than 30 Years of the Glorias with a good number of cover versions thrown in. All done in the Glorias' style. The second half time went as fast as the first one and now the punters really got going. Sometime in between I realized Marco is playing the same guitar model as Sue Foley and they are Pinky one, Pinky two and Pinky three. I believe Marco was actually on stage with at least two different guitars that night. His Pinky did seem to get the most playing time.  Afterwards, the members of the Glorias were very satisfied with their performance and quite rightly so. Next one up is on November 27, 2021 at the Nelson Pub in Muttenz. See you there!



Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty (Stereo) - No. 251

Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty (Stereo)

Just pulled my 2006 release of "Down By The Jetty" out, to listen to the Stereo version of this album. As every Dr. Feelgood aficionado knows, the tracks were recorded in Stereo and on Wilko Johnson's insistence were folded to Mono. For the last 45 years I've known my "Down By The Jetty" to be this gritty piece of Rock/Rock'n'Roll/R'n'B (British style) and my opinion about one of the masterpieces in the history of Rock is not going to change, Not a fraction. I can only debate wether this or "Malpractice" is at the top. Both are stellar albums.

When I heard about the 2006 release of both the Mono and the Stereo version on CD, I was pretty much excited and bought it immediately on release. Besides the tracks of the original albums and the remixes of the new Stereo release, you get a number of additional tracks. At the time I was quite pleased with the results. And filed the CDs away. I have listened to the "Collectors Edition" maybe three or four times in the intervening years and there wasn't any reason to complain. I say "wasn't" which might point out that there's a problem come 2021. 


My go to release is and will be an unremixed and unremastered (except the master of the first release, of course) vinyl copy (there's enough of them in my collection to have a choice). Listening to the Stereo version in ages, it hit me like the proverbial brickwall just to realise how bad the mix is. I mean, it's extremely bad. Worse than bad. In 2006 I thought it was a pretty neat piece of work. Now I do realise that the mixing/mastering engineer had no clue as to what Dr. Feelgood represented and it was in fact only a rush job to him. 

I'm only speaking about the second CD here. Dr. Feelgood were always a rough sounding band, even when they were trying to come across mellow and well behaved. What you get here is a great album mixed to within an inch of its life. Soulless, boring, dancing hall style, brightened up to glitter and diamonds and just dead in the water. I don't know wether this sounds like anything on the original Stereo tapes, but I don't think so. And I have sneakin' suspicion that there's more to it than "just" a remix, I believe that there's been a lot added no end. 


Maybe it's just my form of the day, but this comes across as a waste of time. Don't get me wrong, this is Dr. Feelgood after all and complaining on a high level but the original band and the hardcore fans haven't deserved this. Of course, never having heard the original tapes, I might be under the wrong impression what they are and what the condition is. This thin sounding piece of mediocre dance music in a Saturday night disco down he road doesn't do justice at all to one of the best bands the world has ever seen. My one question now, how can I've been so wrong all these years? I believe the joy of getting a Stereo version hid the shortcomings of the release even though it was (or should have been) quite easy to hear.

It does somtimes work the other way around as well. "Mad Man Blues" on the French label Lolita was my first copy and I could never get to grips with the release. It sounded too much like Heavy Metal und unbalanced with a really bad sound. That is, until I bought further versions from other labels and suddenly the sun went up. This is by no means the fault of the band, but just shoddy work on the part of the label. In conclusion, I'm still somehow grateful that EMI released the "Down By The Jetty" double Collectors Edition CD, because Grand was probably never really able to manage their releases properly.




flector - Live At Bar Manhattan, Rheinfelden/Switzerland on September 3, 2021 - No. 250

 flector - Live At Bar Manhattan, Rheinfelden/Switzerland on September 3, 2021

This was my very first gig after the Covid-19 epidemic reared its ugly head at the beginning of 2020. Not that one or the other concert didn't happen, but with all the restrictions in place, it somewhat takes the fun away. At the moment they have been loosened a bit, so grab your chance to get a shot of your favourite music live. flector have been sidelined as well due to Covid-19 and the lack of gigging opportunities, but thankfully, they're back on track. With a new line-up to boot.

The Bar Manhattan in Rheinfelden/Switzerland is a small venue with quite a run of concerts. The upcoming events show one gig at least per week. I knew the place, but have to admit, I've never been there and this will surely change in future. Enough of the trivia, this is about flector and their stunning performance at the aforementioned place. Just so that all cards are on the table, I know Carlo Gartenmann since about 15+ years ago when he did a splendid job on the "From Roxette To Rosanne" book, so my opinion about flector is clearly somewhat tainted. But I swear, it's the truth and nothing but the truth.

The band calls their music spheric Hardrock (in a nutshell). Make of it what you want, but it might lead you into a false direction, although I have to admit, I struggle with the term "spheric", because with it, I associate a band noodling their way through a set with no end in sight (I have a Jazzrock phobia dating back to the 70s, where bands pretended to play Fusion and all you could hear was outfits not knowing what they were doing - and this comes from a Free Jazz, Noise, Industrial and Avantgarde fan). "Spheric" might be there, but what you really get is a tight playing band (see further down below).

flector play original songs only and I'm not exaggerating when I say, the quality of their songwriting is up there with the best. It's their very own music, although sometimes a bit of Pink Floyd shines through and I even heard the name Kansas mentioned in conversation. However, make no mistakes, flector are not a cover band (obviously) and they don't ape the Classic Rock years. The songs have a very high recognition value and more than enough power to blowdry your hair in front of the stage. The sound was very good, although as per Carlo, it was really their rehearsal backline in use at this time. Very clear, no clipping, well below the threshold were any tinnitus would be acting up and yet loud enough to keep anyone from falling asleep.

Last seen, a drummer!

One word I heard often was "perfection" and the phrase "they really know what they are doing" and I won't disagree with those statements. Back to the sound itself: I've heard good bands playing through shitty backlines and, of course, awful bands making themselves heard through equally bad equipment (or set-up or just because the guy at the soundboard lost his hearing completely by decades of "mixing" some band with the credo of "the louder the better and noone will have an idea anyway"). 


I will say, the band was rocking as in R-O-C-K with more than a share of Prog and I mean this in a positive way (I use the term Prog even though it's one of the most over- and misused descriptions of a genre in music). A gig with flector speaks more to the rocker in you than the intellectual nerd, but the music is quite a long way off the MOR route. 

The current line-up

Adi Baba- Keyboards/Synthesizers

Jean Blume - Bass/Backing Vocals

Rolf Wiking - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals

Matt Mc Allan - Drums/Backing Vocals

Carlo Gartenmann - Guitar/Harp/Vocals


The only drawback of this gig, the number of punters was well below what I expected. flector would have earned a larger audience but the real troopers that they are, they played like it was packed. I'm not sure, but I do believe at the most, we're talking about 40 people in attendance. Might have to do with flector hailing from Winterthur (Eastern Switzerland) and they have not made their name in the Basel area. Hopefully this will change in future and we'll see more of the band.

Head over to the band's website at to keep up to date with what's going on in the flector camp (plus you can listen to some of their songs). I did ask Carlo about a full CD coming up and as usual, it's a financial problem, especially when you want to deliver quality over quantity. The band certainly has enough songs to fill a CD without thinking twice about it. I do hope they will go the crowdfunding route to help get this up and running. 




Saturday, August 21, 2021

Roger Daltrey And His Rightwing Opinions - No. 249

Roger Daltrey And His Rightwing Opinions

It's a shame really when people who stood at the forefront of youth culture and rebellion tend towards the right and voice this dangerous mindset now that they are well beyond one foot in the grave, just because they can and find platforms. Of course, some, like our Mr. Daltrey (who had his 15 minutes of claim to fame in an outfit called The Who) don't have to care about the working poor, the ones depending on social welfare, in fact, the ones cleaning up behind the well to do, who can continue to divide nations. 

Rebellion seems to drift towards Trumpism/Johnsonism/Berlusconism/Orbanism and the like where fake news is the currency of the day. I don't acquit the simple minds of a nation from blame by quoting the "Rattenfänger von Hameln", no, they brought this upon themselves and it's now part of an ongoing effort to clean up behind the people who're leaving us a mess in every country in the world. 

Roger Daltrey is an outspoken pro-Brexiteer (and he made this clear in an interview ca. 2019) and has since backpedaled because of possible restrictions for U.K. artists performing in the European Union. This is a historical joke upon Mr. "hope to die before I get old" (he backpedaled out of this as well). Now, at 70+ years of age and a well made comfy bed stuffed with millions of pounds, he thinks the world waits for a guy at retirement age, explaining to the people what to do now. Mr. Daltrey, noone should give a toss at what you're saying on a good day.


I admit it, I have quite a selection of Who releases acquired over the decades, but it hurts my brain, just thinking that I've sunk my cash into rightwing propaganda. However, truth be told, Mr. Daltrey is not the only one I can't stand these days. Culture (music, literature, performing arts etc.) can't be separated from everyday's life. Someone with a high profile does have the latter only because they excelled in another field and they should stick to it. To spill this kind of venom shortly before dropping off the face of the earth is an insult to every thinking person's views (unless they are brainwashed from the far right and wallow in self-pity, conspiracy theories and fake news).

As for me, I'd be glad never to hear anything anymore from the former Who vocalist, either in song or through his spoken wisdom in papers or magazines. I believe the people showing off themselves at their ripe old age seem to have lost their grip with reality. All the best to you Mr. Daltrey and I hope you'll get better, the industry is working on a therapy.




Sunday, July 11, 2021

Johnny Spence & Doctor's Order – Crude And Rude - No. 248

Johnny Spence & Doctor's Order – Crude And Rude


Strange. I listened to this CD a couple of times over the weeks since it's in my possession. Not once in its entirety, I hasten to add. It was not because of the music on offer, I can guarantee you that much, more of a general distraction and an overall lazy behaviour. Well, that is until recently. I've written so much about Doctor's Order and their music, it seems a bit of a merry-go-round for me, but fortunately, when I start writing about the band and their music, it's all fresh and I see angles I've never seen or heard before.


This last (and final) offer in the post facto series on Doctor's Order let's you have two previously unreleased studio tracks and 12 live tasters from Juttutupa and Swengi. The two studio tracks wouldn't have been misplaced on a regular Doctor's Order album. "No More Doggin'" is as close to Dr. Feelgood as it can get and "My Babe" goes way back to Johnny Kidd & The Pirates. For this alone you'll have to get this CD (Finnish Music & Media/Finnish All Music Media Oy – as usual).



The "Live At Juttutupa" section comprises of nine tracks recorded on October 8, 2016. The music is again geared towards Johnny Spence. The real surprise here is "Hot Wheels". I had to doublecheck, just so to avoid blowing warm air. It's the old Hurriganes track. The latter are an institution in Finland and if you want to become a resident there, you have to go to their immigration office and explain in detail how many records by the Hurriganes you have in your collection and then you're tested in a 10 page multiple answer questionnaire. No mistakes allowed or you'll be sent back home.


I've no idea where this tape is coming from (Teppo's stash, no doubt about it), but it certainly is not of soundboard quality. Sounds a bit like a proper audience recording. You have to compromise on sound quality here, but it's still very worthwhile. But then, I'm a bit(!) biased, as I've seen this line-up twice at the Juttutupa and the gig was excellent as always and it's a good place to be. Having said that, I need to put the sound quality in perspective. It's very enjoyable and a far shot from bootlegs of, say, the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin in my collection (or some Dr. Feelgood ones). 



On March 7, 2009 the "Live At Swengi" closes the proceedings with 3 more tracks. The audio quality picks up considerably on these songs. This is more in your face, more punch, more everything. And this is the other "for this alone you'll have to get the CD" comment. It just blows you out of your rocking chair. That's the way Johnny Spence & Doctor's Order will be remembered.


Ensio Takamäki (sometime Harmonica player – on recordings and live) is part of the gig at the Juttutupa, so I'm not 100 % sure I wasn't at the very gig these tracks are coming from. I quite like the cover image, thumbs up. The CD is limited to 100 copies only and at the time of writing this entry, a bare 10 copies are left.





Wednesday, April 28, 2021

LPs made out of recycled vinyl! 2021! - No. 247

LPs made out of recycled vinyl! 2021!


No, the header is not a joke! At least when it's up to Rhino who had the bright idea to go full bonkers on a release of an LP made out of recycled vinyl. Read all about it (The Who) in: Rhino's marketing dept. back to the past and let me quote Wanda Jackson "'Cause I'm a Fujiyama Mama and I'm just about to blow my top!". 2021! I had to check we're not back in the 70s, and Rhino comes hopping along and has the guts to sell a reissue of an album to the public by thinking the label and their marketing honchos are the greatest thing since sliced bread.


Let me tell you, you're not! You've gone from a decent (sometimes good) label to the absolute bottom of the barrel. You're trying to sell your cheap shot at getting a free ride on the climate change issues as a service to humankind, when all you do is throwing up a smokescreen. Rhino, you swivel chair warriors, you might be much too young to remember the 70s when your forefathers tried this stunt already and failed miserably. Granted, it was back in the day because of oil shortage, but history showed what the result was, a product not even good enough for a landfill.


And now your blabbering about saving the earth by saving carbon dioxide and we should buy it off your greedy hands. Thanks, but no thanks. I tell you something, even though I'm one of the people to buy every product that has been released which bears the Dr. Feelgood name (as long as it's not with Bobby on the mic), I'll gladly pass on this. And there's one more, I'll pass on every other product that'll be released by Rhino in the future. And I do something for the climate, you won't have to ship so much of your needless product around the world.


Keep on pulling your customers' legs, I won't shed a tear for you and your miserable excuse of a has been.





Friday, April 16, 2021

Lockdown Docs – 110% Rock'n'Roll - Number 246

Lockdown Docs – 110% Rock'n'Roll


What are you supposed to be doing, when you know the band and listen to the new CD for the first time and later you'll write a review? Not as easy as it sounds, on the one hand you want to be as honest as possible and on the other you know, a review, to fold down the band, is simply out of the question. Thankfully, I never had to bend over backwards with Doctor's Order. The only difference it would have made, I'd have written less because I wouldn't have known the band so well. Less insight and more hot air. I do confess, sometimes it gets in the way, but I believe I sailed those waters.


Up come the Lockdown Docs and after the demise of Doctor's Order,  the lead guitarist Arto "Archie" Hämäläinen and the very first drummer in the band, Timppa "Mad Man" Väätäinen have found themselves in a new band. They've already released an EP with four tracks (see somewhere below) which is now followed by a sixtracker. At this rate, we can expect 8 tracks for the next release and before you can count to ten a full album is on the horizon.



Not to drag the suspension endlessly out, the CD is excellent. I've listened to the tracks a few times online and now that the item has come into my posession via the help of the Finnish and Swiss postal service, it has been played thin and transparent ever since. Not true, you say? CDs can't be played thin and transparent, you say? Oh well, have your say! And now a commercial break: You can order this limited release from Blues-Shop in Finland (and that's the only place you can get it) but you'll have to move, as of April 16, 2021 only 25 copies are left. The band has their own website here.


What do you get? Six tracks of well worn ditties, played the way every self respecting band should play British styled R'n'B. There are some bands that play covers in their own way, some bad, some good and some the Lockdown Docs way. The EP clocks in at just beyond the 18 minutes mark (which is the only downside of this release – should have been an extended version, if you ask me). The line-up is still


Jonatan Nurminen: Vocals & Guitar

Archie Hämäläinen: Guitar & Vocals

Timppa "Mad Man" Väätäinen: Drums, Vocals & Percussion

Vellu Hyötyläinen: Bass & Vocals


The band sounds ... and I mean it, very well aware that I'm out there in the wild with this opinion, like a very worthwhile ersatz Dr. Feelgood. And I do mean this in the best possible and truest sense of the word. Yet they bring in a lot of their own anger and enthusiasm. Anger is maybe too strong a word, it's more like they know what they do and don't seem to give a care in the world. And for this alone, they get a mention from me on the wall of fame. This is serious stuff and it's amazing to hear the band delivering the tracks so easyhanded yet with pure expertise. 



The tracks:


You Don't Love Me

Of course, I'd like to think I know my Dr. Feelgood well enough to have an educated opinion. But I'm getting in my own way here. If I want a Dr. Feelgood cover, this is it. That's the way it has to sound. Competent is the word. The playing is flawless (to my ears at least) and in the great tradition of our favourite orchestra. Remarkable guitar work, drums well worth a Big Figure mention and Sparko on bass (wait, this is not Sparko? Really?) and the killer, a singer who's more than able to hold his own. Sometimes there's a bit of Lee and sometimes a bit of Pete. Just extremely well done, guys!


Ninety Nine And A Half (Won't Do)

"Got To Have A Hundred", this is 100 (percent, that is), don't fear. They don't slack (and won't throughout this EP). Since Archie hasn't replied to my question regarding the recording conditions, I'm still feeling my way around in the dark. Suffice to say, the sound quality is very good and suits my tastes. Good performance and the sound to match, what else do I want?



If I need to pick one track which closest resembles Dr. Feelgood, it's most certainly "Monkey" ... or "My Buddy Buddy Friends" ... or "You Don't Love Me", you get the drift. What else can I say but another top rendition of a well know song, performed ages ago by our alltime favourite band.


Rattlesnake Shake

No idea where this is coming from. The Lockdown Docs make this into a Dr. Feelgood cover, even though they never (to my knowledge) played this. It breathes this British R'n'B style that we all know and love. Do I think of Dr. Feelgood when listening to this track? Certainly, without a doubt. At second place! First to mind comes the Ronski Gang. Every song that uses the word "shake" more than three times is ingrained in my brain as a link to the latter. You just need to understand that they have a handful of songs in their repertoire that make "shake" almost their sole lyric. I can understand how this became some sort of cult in Finland.


My Buddy Buddy Friends

Again, excellent guitarwork and vocals plus an engine room taking no prisoners. I'm spoilt. I wish more CDs would be like this. Not necessarily covers (although I glady accept it in this quality), but original material would also be very welcome (two originals are on their first CD/EP). Sometimes I'm talking about music to people I know and if they don't know me very well and I have to explain what I'm trying to find in a song (and its performance), this must be it. Maybe to a lesser extend the song itself, but certainly one for the ability in delivering the thing.


So Long

And here we are, bidding farewell with another classic. Six tracks to the highest standards and not a dud in sight. This is so much to the point, it's amazing. Granted, you have to be into this kind of music to really appreciate the value. The question remains, what would I have thought if I didn't know who's playing here (at least the 50 % that I know)? Rest assured, I would have asked just what hit me. The Lockdown Docs? What's their back catalogue? They must be active since forever (which, in a way, some of them really are).


I hesitate to call the Lockdown Docs a cover band (which they obviously are), as they are on a level far removed from your average copycats. This is now ten songs in and I hope I'll see the band one day in a live setting. They must come down a storm. Keep on rocking and show the world how it's really done!





Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Steve Hooker – The Old Testament Of Love (CD) - Number 245

Steve Hooker – The Old Testament Of Love (CD)

It's 2021 and I'm reviewing a CD that has been released in 2019. An antique really, if you think of it. Pre-pandemic times and all, when live gigs were still the normal, nobody walked around with a face mask, you met people you wanted just because there was a pub crawl in the making and noone barked at you because the queue you were standing in at the cashiers didn't move fast enough. Oh well, those were the times, easy peasy and then some.

Truth be told, with lots of free time on my hands, I've been listening to CDs like there's no tomorrow. 2017 up until the end of 2020 I only listened to special CDs that meant a lot to me (such as this one) and a bit of radio (Oui FM Blues'n'Rock is a favourite of mine at the moment). On my desk beside the laptop I have a small pile of CDs that get a regular play. Not much change there, sometimes a new one makes the cut and an old acquaintance leaves the inner circle. "The Old Testament Of Love" belongs to this circle and will remain there for some time to come.Comes January 2021 and for whatever reason I dive head-in and listen to a couple of albums a day again. Don't ask! I've no idea.


For the life of me, I can't remember were I bought this album. I'm pretty sure it must have been online somewhere. Little things like this drive me nuts, even though they're not really important in life. Now, where did I get this one from ...? From my desk a few minutes ago, that'll have to do for now. If you want to order directly from the artists, here's the link. Have a look around, there's more than CDs to be had.

I do remember seeing Steve Hooker in concert at a local place called Sommercasino back when we were a bit younger. It was quite the Rockabilly set and a very enjoyable gig. I must have had some of Steve's releases before that, because I knew the name and what to expect. In the end it was even more Rockabilly than I thought it'd be. No problem for me, because the genre makes up a substantial part of my interest and collection. Some people in the audience were even dressed to the nines, so I felt a bit out of place. However, it was a great evening. Steve has also played the Atlantis, a very well known local venue, but I seem to have missed this gig.

"The Old Testament Of Love" clocks in at just under 28 minutes. What you get are seven original songs (or instrumentals). One such instrumental is "Necktie Party", which I have firmly placed in the Surf corner. When I say Surf, it's not the Beach Boys style but rather a bit of Dick Dale, with absolutely great guitar work. "The First One's Always Free" is a heavy, heavy Blues. Not heavy as in loud, but every step has been carved out of stone. This is one direction of the Blues I cherish. Excellent vocals as well (listen for yourself), this is one of those songs that won't leave your brain and you'll begin to see white mice, because it follows you around 24/7. With more than 7 minutes, it's a kind of signature tune as well.

The following "The Old Testament Of Love" is a bit of a hybrid between straight Rock with touches of Garage and class songwriting. I'm no audiophile in the true sense of the word, but I like very well recorded music. This is such a CD. It's not tiresome and without checking, I don't think the music has been brickwalled (i might test the DR later on – not that I give much credit to this, but I believe music shouldn't be overcompressed). "Don't Let The Deal Go Down" is Rock'n'Roll as it should be played today. Modern tradition (if this makes any sense). An album with this branch of R'n'R on offer, I'll buy it every day.


Very much a heavy offer is "Tighten It", heavy again. I don't know, is it me or ... when I name a favourite track from a CD/an LP, it's almost always such a footstomper. I could easily name a couple of dozen albums where this is the case for me. "Crows Legs" is another instrumental (just as the aforementioned "Tighten It"), but with a different twist. This is Steve on bottleneck, very much a southern twang (on guitar that is). My kind of music. To the point and yet enormously relaxed. I don't know how difficult it is to play this precise and yet seemingly without a care in the world. And the closer is "Mister Mojo Man", one on the heavy side again. When I say heavy side, you don't get any ballads here in contrast to "heavy", but the three tracks that I picked as being heavy, that's indeed what they are.Again, this is not loud, this is like Godzilla following you at night in the otherwise empty streets. Geddit?


Now, if you'd point your browser in the direction of Steve's website and buy some product, I'll make sure to put your name up on my wall of fame. Thanks for your support and besides, you're doing yourself a favour.



Thursday, March 11, 2021

Lockdown Docs – Same (EP CD) - No. 244

Lockdown Docs – Same (EP CD)


Not sure how I came onto the Lockdown Docs. My best guess is that I either searched for Archie or for Timppa. Up pops a band calling themselves Lockdown Docs and they are from Finland. Just enough to pique my interest. And then I read that a certain Mr. Archie Hämäläinen was lending his axe to the proceedings (plus vocals – really?) and Mr. Timo „Madman“ Väätäinen on drums (and vocals – probably not true, must be fake news). You have to understand, that both of these guys were in a band called Doctor’s Order (who you might know about, if not, there’s one or two posts in this blog).


Neither Archie nor Timppa were known to take up much vocal duties (if at all) in their former band, although Archie did so on backing vocals very few times. When I heard the first track I just couldn’t believe it. He must have been beaten with a club over his head to tackle this. Not bad, not bad at all. But Timppa, on no album that I can recall or no live show I’ve seen did I hear im participating with vocals. Just no! Well times they are changing indeed.


As far as I know, the EP CD can only be bought from Blues-Shop in Finland. They’re quick and the product comes fast, but the postage rates are murder if you reside outside of Finland. Just wanted to warn you. I did find some tracks online to be listened to (there’s even a YT video available), but really, internet and streaming and/or downloads are not for me. The soundquality is nothing to write home about (thin sound and you know immediately, this can be bettered). Of course, I had to have the CD. And here it is. Four tracks, clocking in at just beyond the 10 minute mark. This is more like a taster (or a trailer, if this would be a movie).


For tracklisting, credits and line-up please see the scan. What do you get here? Four tracks, not a million miles away from Doctor’s Order. Just the right spicy R&B/Rock that has enjoyment written all over. So that there’s no misunderstanding, by R&B I’m talking about the British style (not the U.S. version), the one having found a home in the pubs in the 70’s and best described as kin to Dr. Feelgood, Inmates, Nine Below Zero etc.


I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of Jonatan Nurminen (vocals, guitar and percussion) or Vellu Hytötyläinen (bass and vocals), but I’ll ask Archie or Timppa and maybe there’ll be a follow-up to this post. There’s Esa Kuloniemi as guest on tracks 3 and 4 (guitar). He does ring a bell, and a loud one. I’ve met Esa during the noughties at YLE (thanks to Teppo Nättilä) and since then I’ve amassed quite a selection of records and CDs of his very own band Honey B. & The T-Bones (highly recommended btw – the earlier albums are more of the bluesy kind and the latter have gone more into an experimental way, not avant-garde, but your brain cells are needed there).



I’m Walking

An original track. I do know the riff from somewhere, but I can’t point my finger right now. I wanted to label this as Pubrock, but I’ve come to my senses. This is a Wilko Johnson track, if I ever heard one. It’s not just the song itself, this is a Wilko blueprint on how the guitar is played. Wunderbar! I’m floored. I’m a bit lost, I can almost see the shadow of another song behind this one. Almost, not quite.


Drives Me Wild

Of course, you, reading this blog, know this track by heart. Excellent rendition and not some half baked cover version. If I’m not totally mistaken, there are some vocal tracks layered upon each other. Excellent sound quality btw. I need to ask how they’ve recorded the CD (homerecording or studio – it sounds like the latter).


I’ll Run Away

The second original on offer here. The more I listen to this EP, the more I hear Wilko Johnson (as the tutor). Chopping style and everything. Or Mick Green, which is stylistically about the same. I’ll stand by my earlier assessment, this is ca. 1975/1976 and the Thames Delta is just outside the front door.


Hully Gully

A well worn ditty that needs no introduction. Fits in (with an exotic touch) with the rest of the songs on offer here. And I’m sorry, this is the last song tonight. You’ve 15 minutes to drink up and leave. Thank you and good night.