|Pretty Baby Blues, Little Boy Arnold & His Western Okies
Blue Lake Records BLR-CD 05
Hailing from Marbella (Spain), for the last 10 years Little Boy Arnold has been a predominant personality on the Spanish rockabilly scene. They already played Hemsby as far back as 1996. Having already done some recordings on several occasions, like on the 1997 compilation "Historia Del Rockabilly Nacional Vol. 1", this however is their first full length CD. Nick named "The Spanish Matador of Rockabilly" Hector Guerrero is back and no raging bull is gonna stop him. Hector and the guys cleverly work a very tight outfit, treating us to some finest guitar work you'll probably hear today. Energetic vocals and cool backings makes this release a well deserved treat for all music lovers.
That part came from the liner notes & info sheet, so now we know what we're up against. Let's hear if, besides being a treat for all music lovers, this new shiny platter can impress us hardcore rockabillies as well. Playing mostly as a trio without drums, a drummer was added on some songs for more power on the rockin' tracks like "Rock Bop Tonight" or to add some indian feel to "Travellin' To Nowhere". As a total opposite, tracks like "Boxcar Boogie" are recorded fully acoustically with no drums in a country boogie vain. On the black side, the dirty guitar work of "Beale Street Boogie" seems to jump out of the Memphis early 50's.
There are many more good rockin' tracks to enjoy on this album, Like "I Gotta Go", "Pretty Baby Blues", "Long Gone Baby" and the Johnny Cash style "Me And The Blues", with great guitar licks and a hot boppin' rhythm. Hector is a pretty good singer, but he does have quite an accent. This probably won't bother rockabillies from non-English speaking countries, but for US and UK residents it might sound a bit awkward. For me, hailing from Holland myself, it sounds pretty much okay. Personally I'm not too fond of the jazzy guitar sounds (Bye Bye Blues), it may be pretty good guitar pickin', but it has little to do with rockabilly. Unplugged country boogie songs like "Boxcar Boogie" and "I'm Diggin' A Hole" did not raise the hairs in my neck either.
The CD is a mix of various roots styles, and many but not all will appeal to the rockabilly fans. Listen to a few samples, available from the Blue Lake website. All tracks were recorded live with valve and vintage equipment at the JCR Studio in Vevey, Switzerland. The CD also contains an extra videoclip which you can play on your personal computer.
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2005