Blast Off! - The Black Crabs 

Coming from Seattle, The Black Crabs are The Donettes minus Rebecca the singer. Originally the band was formed to back the legendary Wanda Jackson but they're still together playing their brand of modern rockabilly. Guitar player and lead singer Jonathan Stuart wrote eight songs and the remaining six are covers, ranging from Don Gibson to The Sonics via The Everly Brothers. With such different covers you're not suprised to hear more than just rockabilly (very well presented throughout this album with Kirsten's effective slap bass) in their influences.

Okay, on with the review: after a few spins I must say this is a very refreshing and happy CD, very well capable of turning a dark hearted mood into a sunny one. The overall impression it gives me at first glance, the music and the shiny suits the band wears on the cover, is one of Rocky Horror goes Rockabilly, which is meant as a compliment, because I'm a true TRHPS addict. Kirsten is swinging and slapping that bass like an old rockabilly pro, the guitar tracks are refreshing, and the drums stable as a breaker in the sea. The vocals are sounding crystal clear (as is the entire production), and the lyrics are funny, exclammation mark. I'd say, leave out the cover songs and write all the lyrics yourselves next time guys, and girl of course.

The album lifts off with Alden Holloway's "Blast Off" and if you like it or not, you're grabbed immediatly into the slipstream and up you go. Second song demonstrates the band's strength to produce a catchy song with funny lyrics: "Pickup Line". Heck, I'll try a few of those pickup lines myself! On we go with the Crabs' rendition of the national beer anthem: Jimmy Lee Fautheree's "I can't find the the doorknob". Well, what can I say, I like it ;-) Look over yonder, there's the "Shelton Express" and if my ears don't deceive me I hear some exceptional Tele pickin' with some great bends. "Cat's Pyjama's" is a selfpenned instrumental intermezzo. Great jazz licks but still a bopper thanks to Kirstin combining slapping with cool, matching walking bass lines. Drum accents like automatic riffle shots, Bang!! Great! Actually, there's no weak song on this entire album, and I heard all of 'em several times. Super is the homage to the late Great Link Wray, "Rink Lay" catching Link's style, and coming very close to Link's own raunchy but distinctive sound. Or the Black Crabs version of the Sonics' "Dirty Old Man". And nope, it's not that corny Three Degrees song going by the same name.

Well, lately it's really raining new releases that are worth 5 stars, and that is a developement every true rockabilly, rock & roll, roots music or americana fan benefits from. This album certainly deserves each and everyone of the 5 stars.

Blast Off! / Pickup Line / Can't Find the Doorknob / Shelton Express / Cat's Pajamas / Sweet Sweet Girl / Dangerous Curves (featuring Barb Clifford of The Honeybees) / I Do / Rink Lay /Poor Jenny /Stink Bomb /Dirty Old Man /Singin' The Blues / Ready Ready Ready

The Black Crabs are:
Jonathan Stuart - Guitar, Vocals
Kirsten Ballweg - Bass, Vocals
Tom Forster - Drums, Vocals

Contact information: 

Phone +1-206-255-9301 

Reviewed by Uncle_B, 2006