Elvis may have been King, but his guitar player, Scotty Moore, was a major contributor to the kingdom. The “sound” of those classic Elvis singles catapulted his career, and the guitar sounds and chug-a-lug rythyms put the world in a frenzy. The Riptones sound like an Elvis jam with Johnny Cash on lead vocals and Scotty Moore on guitar. Believe it or not, this recording has that airy, light Sun presence making Jeb Bonansinga and Company worthy heirs to the rockabilly/roots crown worn by Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and all the rest who used to hang out at 706 Union Avenue.
That’s heady praise, but accurate. The opener, “Rebel Rock Armageddon” cranks it up with an anthemic theme for any cats out there. “Treat Her Right” is the song you hear at last call right before the sole Johnny Cash song on the jukebox, and right before you do something that you know you shouldn’t do. I visualize Elvis crooning “Pardon Me” to Ann Margret right after he kicks an entire bar’s ass in a brawl over her virtue. “Buckshot” is a nice example of how to use guitar tremolo tastefully, just like the greats such as Scottie Moore. “Getting By” reminds me of one of those Johnny Cash life lesson songs. “Do the best you can…respect your fellow man…” The rest of this recording is as strong.
This is the best roots record of 2000, hands down. Many CDs cross my player, and I am amazed at the consistency of the stuff that Bloodshot puts out. Almost anything with the Bloodshot logo is a stamp of quality.
As to the Riptones, I can’t say enough about this recording. Great songs, vocals, and authentic acoustic bass, guitar, vocal and room sounds without it seeming too deliberate. These guys are roots or rockabilly. There is no way that anyone could say this stuff is pale in comparison to good stuff from the ‘50s. I urge you to check this recording out.