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.