MIKE SANCHEZ & THE BEAT FROM PALOOKAVILLE
BABES AND BUICKS
Hip Boots, The Question, Babes And Buicks, Let's Be Friends, Driftwood, Isabella, Found What I'm Looking For, It's Time To Rock, Everybody's Got A Buick, I'm Wise (Slippin' And Slidin'), Got You On My Mind, Crawfish, Shiver And Shake, Pretty Legs, Scream And Howl, Party Time.
Has Mike Sanchez ever made a bad record? His piano and vocals helped take The Bigtown Playboys right to the top in the 80s and 90s and every one of his albums as a solo artist has been a joyful slice of real rhythm and blues.
Now here's Sanchez with The Beat From Palookaville (a change of name for Swedish outfit Knockout Greg And Blue Weather) who are already established as the best band around when it comes to re-evaluating and revisiting vintage black music, and together they've made great big sassy slab of rockin' jivin' bop.
It's a marriage made in heaven. Sanchez has a great authentic vocal style belting out every lyric with an enthusiasm and energy that suits the Palookavilles to a T. The result is an explosive mess of rockin' guitars, pounding piano and a brass section that whacks out the biggest fattest sound I've heard in a long time. A good example is Everybody's Got A Buick, which has Sanchez's lung-bustin' vocals bawling over wailing saxes that roller-coast around the whopping drumbeats of Johan Svensson and the wild guitar solo from Anders Lewen. Then there's the opening cut Hip Boots which has the most thundering licks I've ever heard from a horn section. It opens with a pulsating pile of hard bopping sax and trombone work, then the mania sets in with Sanchez pounding the keyboard for all he's worth while the band rock harder and harder. It's ballsy, driving old-time R&B all the way and even Bill Broonzy's laid back blues Let's Be Friends gets the uptown treatment with great vocals, whomping horns and a nice long guitar solo. Sanchez' own rock'n'roll item Found What I'm Looking For features the superb Lily Mae howling out the vocals while the band continue to cook like crazy.
There are 16 tracks on this CD and every single one is a blast. Favourites? Well, Hip Boots is the big noise for me at the moment but I love the party feel of It's Time To Rock because of Mike's rollicking piano work and there's that breathless version of Slippin' And Slidin' that hits the spot too. Really, I just love it all. There aren't enough stars for this little killer.
Review Date: November 2010