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Yep-Roc (YEP2407)

Fury, Honky Tonk, Magic Star, Theme From A Summer Place, Perfidia, Apache, Misirlou, Kawanga, Wild Weekend, You Can Count On Me, Walk Don’t Run, Popcorn, Sleepwalk and Pipeline.

A simple but sublime idea - take a collection of instrumentals and re-cast them with your own lyrics to create a whole batch of brand new songs. I mean, why go to the trouble of coming up with new hooks, lick and melodies when there are loads around just asking to be re-used?

Well, it may sound a simple idea but only a certifiable loon with sufficient chutzpah is likely to come up with it; enter stage left Deke Dickerson, an erudite, literate but more than a little eccentric rockabilly singer whose recordings really should be easier to get hold of.

Teaming up with the Grammy-nominated rock and roll instrumental outfit from Nashville, the appropriately named Los Straitjackets, Deke has written new lyrics to 14 pieces of music designed to amuse, entertain and make any party go with a swing. And, it all comes off remarkably well.

Not that you need to have prior knowledge of each piece to appreciate this album. For every well known number such as Walk Don’t Run, as immortalised by The Ventures, you are liable to come by a piece you don’t know. I’ve no idea where the music for the closing track, Pipeline, comes from but this version is now among the most favoured slices of rock and roll in my collection.

Another favourite is You Can Count On Me, a fabulously groovy couple of minutes frenetically driven along to the theme tune from Hawaii Five-0 (the original TV series from the 1970s featuring Jack Lord and his ill-advised hair piece as Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett).  And Santo And Johnny’s classic Sleepwalk lends itself very well to a transformation into a lovely R&B vocal group ballad.

Not all of the music chosen here originally comes from the rock and roll milieu, a cheeky example being the employment of Popcorn, a one-time synth-pop instrumental to create another of the albums highlights.

With such a wilfully experimental approach to this venture, not everything fully succeeds. The opening version of Fury is musically riotous but Deke’s vocal approach on this detracts from, rather than enhances, the enjoyment. But, taken as a whole, this album is hugely enjoyable, full of inventive and entertaining songs supremely well delivered by Los Straitjackets .

Not a major piece of work, for sure, but if you are looking for  a fun-packed album that delivers a smile each and every time you play it, this can’t be beat!



Review Date: October 2014

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