Big Town Boogie
'The easily recognizable influences of Bill Haley and Gene Vincent, as well as lesser knowns such as Link Wray, and Louis Prima are discernable not only in the repertoire, but also the stylings. Ralph's original 'Set 'Em Up Joe' is authentic enough to leave you wondering where you had heard it before, while his growling 'Caledonia' with the addition of the lyric 'What makes your big ass so wide' had the drinkers and dancers, and there were plenty of both, falling down with laughter. Elmore James, 'Shake Your Money Maker' was given all the respect deserving of it's classic status, and probably was more true to the original get up and dance spirit of the original than is usually heard in the local blues clubs. 'Train Kept A Rollin' is done closer to the original than the more familiar Aerosmith cover, and while nothing against those boys from Boston, the ominous character of the original is restored here, and it makes all the difference in the world. This is not 'Happy Days', with it's over simplified nostalgic look at the fifties, but the soundtrack of the turbulent period of post World War II America. The breaking down of social barriers and class distinctions was first evident through music, and this melding of country, blues and jazz is closer to the 'Blackboard Jungle'. Crugnale's upright and Piscatelo's drumming owe a lot to the swing era. The heavy tom tom intros are very reminiscent of Gene Krupa. Thompson, who is known for his long tenure with the Senders and also holds the guitar chair with Sheena and the Swamp Dogs, is well versed in both melodic and rhythmic playing, often sounding more like a piano than a guitar, while Koopmans is completely comfortable soloing or comping. Rebel, of course, is the front man, with Warren also taking some vocals, blowing harmonica leads, vamping with Thompson and Koopmans, or doing background calls and hollers. This was a fun night with six great players doing true justice to real vital music... some of the best music Long Island has to offer.'
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