As you might guess from the title, the Oklahoma singer-songwriter JD McPherson’s follow up to his Rounder debut, Signs & Signifiers, is equally rooted in early rock n roll, so plenty of driving basslines, punchy limb-shaking rhythms, twangy reverb and the occasional splash of fat sax.
The title cut on Let The Good Times Roll starts the joint jumping with the drums laying down the beat, handclaps and boogie piano carrying it along on an undercurrent of gospel before Bossy introduces a spooked air against clattering percussion and chugging rhythm that reminds you he’s also an afficionado of R&B and shitkicking country.
Baritone sax farts all over It’s All Over But The Shouting, a mid-tempo track that nods to such influences as Jerry Lee and Fats Domino before desert noir guitar switches the pace and mood for Bridgebuilder, a fabulous 50s doo wop ballad co-written with Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys (their producer, Mark Neill, behind the desk here, too), gathered around a streetcorner of upright bass and piano.
Then, it’s back to Little Richard territory on the pumping rock’n’roll of It Shook Me Up, keeping the feet and hips moving with the throaty bass-riffing Woolly Bully groove of Head Over Heels and a bluesy Shakin’ All Over shiver running down the spine of Shy Boy with its jabbing organ and fingersnap percussion, McPherson showing off his southern soul vocal chops.
He says he had big bombastic sounds in his head when contemplating the album and that’s certainly the case for You Must Have Met Little Caroline? with its reverb-drenched throbbing low-slung guitar riff, syncopated percussion and a snaky, curled-lip vocal delivery to match while woo hoos echo into the background and a mid-section tinkling descending piano run is taken over by the molten guitar break.
The album rolls out with the circling twanged reverb riff of Precious, an R&B country ballad that suggests Ben E King hanging out in some border cantina, the choppy skittering syncopated tumbling rhythm of Mother of Lies where that fat sax takes centre stage for a big greasy solo, and, finally, going out on a Jerry Lee express train, the urgent rockabilly snarling, stomping, pugilistic Everybody’s Talking Bout The All-American on which a wholly unexpected guitar break that comes on like a cascading peal of bells, shows that McPherson not only knows his rock n roll roots, but he knows how to twist them into new shapes too.
Review by: Mike Davies
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