|Right Now I Hate You, The Camaros
Frankie Boy Records, FBR 010
Baton Rouge born and East Coast bred, Jen Jones of New York's "The Camaros", has been called a Riot Girl but only because she has the same in your face attitude as her punk rock sisters. Jones was an itinerant swing singer gone country, and had left a life singing and playing perpetual piano bars to find adventure on the road. Her country gig evolved into rockabilly, fueled by her need to incorporate her punk and rock 'n' roll influences into her songs. After a brief stint as a four piece, Jones added horns and Lee Ann Westover on vocals, quickly making The Camaros favorites on the national scene, including the hard to crack Rodeo Bar (NYC) and LA's Derby. After two years and three national tours with the band, Westover departed in May 1999, leaving Jones to refocus her musical direction towards her true musical loves - early 50's R&B / Jump Blues and American Roots / Rockabilly.
The band's first record, "Evil", celebrated the Shameless Hussy, and this song became an anthem for their fans, earning Jones her infamous reputation for the marriage of irreverance and melody. In the words of the critics: "Take it from me kiddies, this band kicks ass. They are a high energy, hard hitting, rockabilly, swing, punk mutation that will leave you drooling for more." (Ninevolt) "The Camaros flaunt a brand of sass that evokes Wanda Jackson." (Atomic) "Songs like 'Am I the Girl jump with a Ruth Brown swagger." (Washington Post)
Well-known in the LA rockabilly scene, bass player Dan "Cochino" Enriquez, was imported for his all-important slap that underscores the rockin' direction The Camaros have taken. If Jen is the headlights, Dan is the engine that keeps the The Camaros revving. They've toured almost non-stop for a year, searching the country for the right guitar and drums.
The Camaros' live shows give hint to what this record will bring. Jen's voice has picked up a combination of road grit and the residue of listening to that favorite Patsy Cline record one too many times. Audiences are continualy impressed with the depth of feeling her husky tone reveals. When they let loose the band kicks out stuff that sounds suspiciously like country - then they'll turn around and nail a couple of jump blues tunes or standards. Fans were just begging to be able to hear "Right Now I Hate You" on CD! And here it is, recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, Memphis, Tennessee. Sound samples available from the band's website.
All tracks on the album are selfpenned originals, written by Jen Jones, starting with "Hot Blooded Woman", a fast driving, hard hitting rockabilly song with uptempo bass slapping. Marvelous rockabilly that sets the mood for the evening. The second track, "Should I", with some real gone lap steel by guest musician Dave Giegerich, is more of a jazzy song with a country feel, due to the steel guitar and Jen's beautiful hillbilly voice. "Maybe" is neither country or rockabilly, but still has that great double bass rhythm and a stylish southern rock guitar break. "That Kind Of Girl" is back to the rockabilly roots, a fast bopper that'll surely get your feet moving. "Worlds Collide" keeps right on rocking, Jen's sexy voice combined with a Mike Ness style distortion on the lead guitar turn out to be a hard knocking mix of rockabilly and rock music.
And then on to the title track "Right Now I Hate You", which continues the spirit of the previous track, while picking up speed along the way. Fabulous guitar break, definitly not for the fainthearted, and an awesome slapp bass solo by Dan Enriquez. Wow! To catch your breath, "Hillbilly Boy" slows down the pace a bit, back to the roots again, before raving on with a hand jive rhythm & blues tune titled "Life Of Crime", where both drummer Hunter Johnson and guitarist Chris Bavaria are competing to play first fiddle. The rhyhtm of "Girl Singer" is rather infectious, it even got me rocking on my chair while typing this review. Gotta slow down for a bit, and there's gotta be a ballad on every album, some say (I tend to disagree though), so here's "I've Been Kind", which is a fine display for Jen's fabulous voice and a moment for you to put your feet to rest. Well, I usually don't need 4 minutes to catch my breath, LOL. Last track "One Thing On My Mind" is another rhythm & blues crooner, fabulous stereo effects on the bluesy lead guitar, and Jen displays she can sing every style with ease. If you keep listening long enough to the last track, you'll find that there's a bonus track embedded at the end.
What this album comes down to is an anthology of rockabilly music, spreading out from it's roots with the vintage hillbilly sound of Hank Williams and the rhythm & blues influences of Bo Diddley, across the rockabilly and country-rock revival of the 70s and 80s, all the way to Mike Ness' rockabilly-rock style of the 90s and ending up with the Camaros' sound of the new millenium. Rock 'n' roll will never die!
The Camaros CD line-up:
Frankie Boy Records
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2002