Of all the CD's I have listened to since returning from Viva Las Vegas V, there are two in particular I would like to rave about in this column: Cave Catt Sammy's third CD, "Love Me Like Crazy", and the new full-length CD by Bones Maki & the Sun Dodgers. Both are excellent, solid efforts by young bands whose leaders have written most of the songs.
In the case of Cave Catt Sammy, "Love Me Like Crazy", their third CD and first recorded by Rubric Records, just goes to prove everything I wrote about them in my review of Indianapolis Rockabilly Rebel Weekend No. 8 www.rockabillyhall.com/BarryIndy2000.html in which I dubbed Cave Catt Sammy the "breakthrough" band of that entire event. Led by their lead singer, principal songwriter and vocalist, Beau Sammy Sample, the entire band wasn't old enough to order a drink at the Rockabilly Rebel Weekend in 2000, but Cave Catt Sammy and Sleepy LaBeef are living proof that age has nothing to do with excellence. "Love Me Like Crazy" is a 14-track CD with great singing, songwriting, musicianship, and synergism propelled by a group whose experience in the last three years belies the relatively brief time these young men have existed on this planet. Beau Sample wrote 11 or the 14 songs on the CD, possesses an excellent voice, and actually delivers decipherable lyrics. Lead guitarist Stephen Scott gives us many different sounds with his guitar, always sounding fresh and innovative without falling into the same groove. Beau and percussionist Paul Ward provide a sold rhythm section to the guitars of Stephen Scott and Dustin Hutchinson on acoustic guitar.
COVER OF CAVE CATT SAMMY'S NEW CD,
"LOVE ME LIKE CRAZY"
Too many catchy tunes to mention, but "Doggone, She's Gone", "She Loves Her Man", and "You Made Your Bed" are some of my favorite rockabilly numbers on this CD. "Raining Honey" is a good up-tempo ballad, and "Brown Haired Girl" lends a bluesy honky-tonk sound with piano and western-swing guitar. The last cut, "Firewater", is an instrumental sounding like a marriage between early 60's surf and the saxophone sound of Johnny and the Hurricanes.
CAVE CATT SAMMY
Make no mistake about it: Cave Catt Sammy is a rockabilly group, but they have the ability to delve into the motifs that rockabilly emerged from, and this is one very talented band which has captured the excitement of their live performances. It's hard to believe that these guys can get any better, but I just have a feeling it's going to happen. Well done, fellows, and keep up the good work!
Having known Craig "Bones" Maki for a few years now, I could say that my expectations were high for his new CD "Bones Maki and the Sun Dodgers", a self-titled CD debut of this new trio featuring Bones Maki, his friend and bassist from The Big Barn Combo, Kenny Bruce, and the very talented Graham Tichy on lead guitar. But actually, I'm amazed at the excellent quality of this CD, as well as their two fantastic performances at the East Lounge with the Rockabilly Hall of Fame at Viva Las Vegas V. The reason I am surprised is that on CD and in person, this group sounded like it had been together for years and had benefited from many moons of rehearsing and playing together, when in fact, Graham Tichy lives in upstate New York, and Bones Maki and Kenny Bruce live the Detroit area.
BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS ARE, LEFT TO RIGHT,
GRAHAM TICHY, CRAIG "BONES" MAKI, AND KENNY BRUCE
Notwithstanding all of this, what we have here from this trio (no drummer) is a 14-track CD featuring exceptional material, great songwriting and a terrific melding of three musical talents. Craig Maki penned 12 of the 14 songs on this CD, and has developed into quite a songwriter. I had noticed that when Craig was performing at the Motor City Spin-Out www.rockabillyhall.com/BarryKMotorCity.html, he was introducing more of his own fresh material, and when you combine his clever, catchy lyrics with his excellent voice and timing, he has really got something going. Although Graham Tichy is often referred to as the son of John Tichy, who was a member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airman and who was lead vocalist on several of their hits, Graham has already singled himself out as one of the hottest, most capable guitarist on the rockabilly scene today. Kenny Bruce on bass does such a great job that the dancers will never lose the beat nor miss the existence of a drummer. When I was listening to "Out of the Past", I really appreciated how much Kenny contributes to the sound of this group.
Many readers might not know, but Craig Maki is one of the most singular authorities on rockabilly music and its history. His radio show in Detroit, Rockabilly Roll Call, had a cult following, and I am personally still listening to over five years worth of Bones' radio shows I have recorded. It sometimes amazes me that a man who knows practically every rockabilly song that was ever written can still be creative enough to provide fresh lyrics and new arrangements for his own songs.
BONES MAKI AND THE SUN DODGERS PERFORM THEIR
FIRST OF TWO SETS AT THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME'S
EAST LOUNG AT VIVA LAS VEGAS V
"Bones Maki and the Sun Dodgers" was released on Craig's Woodward Records label, and recorded by his friend, Keith Jason Cady in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Besides being a musician, I have known Keith as a country music deejay on radio, who used to fill in for Craig Maki's Rockabilly Roll Call when Craig had to hit the road with his former band, Big Band Combo.
With respect to Cave Catt Sammy's "Love Me Like Crazy" and "Bones Maki and the Sun Dodgers" self-titled new CD, we have two excellent 14-song CD's with most of the material written by the groups' leaders, and great toe-tapping danceable rockabilly music.
Just around the time of Viva Las Vegas V, Las Vegas's own Rockin' Ronny Weiser, owner of Rollin' Rock Records, released The Original Comets newest CD, "Aged to Perfection". This is the second CD that Rockin' Ronny has put out featuring The Original Comets, the first one being "Still Rockin' Around the Clock", with The Original Comets calling themselves "The Original Band" for legal purposes. I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful experience of watching The Original Comets perform in Royal Oak, Michigan during the Motor City Spin-Out in the summer of 2001 www.rockabillyhall.com/BarryKMotorCity.html. I must say that if any readers have not seen The Original Comets perform, they would be doing themselves a favor to find out where they are playing and go see them. Readers who have seen them know where I'm coming from here: Age doesn't seem to matter, but when you see these guys, some of whom are well in to their 70's, perform as well as they do, it makes us all want to take care of ourselves a little bit better - we never know how long a wonderful life can be!
CD COVER OF THE NEW ROLLIN' ROCK RELEASE
FEATURING THE ORIGNAL COMETS
As difficult as it would be to capture the live performances in a studio recording, Rockin' Ronny seems to have done the best that is humanly possible. While bringing back some standards on this CD such as "Happy Baby", "Dim Dim the Lights", "Burn That Candle", "Two Hound Dogs", etc., there is some contemporary material here, including "Viagra Rock" and "We Ain't Dead Yet", which call our attention to the fact that these fellows are "seasoned citizens". "We Ain't Dead Yet" is a composition of one of the most talented rockabilly, and rock and roll performers and songwriters around today, San Francisco's Dave Crimmen, who has wowed the crowds at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame stage at Viva Las Vegas for the past four years. Some of these Original Comets started playing with Bill Haley in 1952, so I must say "congratulations, fellows, on 50 years of great rock and roll"!
THE ORIGINAL COMETS - FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: JOHNNY GRANDE, PIANO;
DICK RICHARDS, DRUMS; MARSHALL LYTLE, BASS;
JOEY D'AMBROSIO, SAXOPHONE; FRANNY BEECHER, GUITAR
Photo courtesy of Denise Gregoire
www.d4haley.com - www.preshgems.com
THE ORIGINAL COMETS WITH BILL HALEY
Editor's Note: Barry Klein writes for the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and his book, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll", was published in 1997. To contact Barry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Rockabilly Hall of Fame®