Friday, September 09, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 239 - The Amazing Royal Crowns - Self Titled

By: March

Album – The Amazing Royal Crowns (Self Titled)
Artist – The Amazing Royal Crowns
Key Players – The Colonel (J.D.Burgess) – guitars. Super8 Nate (Judd Williams) – Drums. Jason “King” Kendall – vocals. Jack “the Swinger” Hamilton - bass
Produced By – Tom Buckland and The Amazing Royal Crowns

Release Date - 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Strike another one to the 1.00 bin in Ohio when I was on vacation. I recalled "Do the Devil", so why not?

Overview – The band was formed in the early 1990's and gigged around New England. The Providence, Rhode Island based band would win the WBCN Rock and Roll Rumble in 1997, a local showcase for bands with cash, prizes and studio time as awards. Two years later the band was legally forced to change their name to “The Amazing Crowns” to not confuse fans with another band “Royal Crown Revue”. Still, they'd tour extensively with like minded bands (Mighty Might Bosstones) but after a second release in 2000, and the rockabilly genre losing its luster the band folded.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The album opens with the track “Shiverin In The Corner”. Burgess has a very cool compressed, but clean guitar sound and then it begins to get that rockabilly vibe. The ride cymbal gets a work out from Williams and Hamilton chugs across the bass. Kendall is quick and aggressive on his vocals, but they are clean. The guitar eases off after the first verse letting the bass and drums drive the song, a fun opener. If there was a single off the record released to radio, it came in“Do The Devil” and for good reason. After singing the song name horns come in and the surf vibe on guitar takes over. The horns feed off the bass and drums in a 12 bar blues run. They shout “Do the Devil” and there is a great trombone solo from Chris Rhodes (the horns are from Spring Heeled Jack Boys) and there is a great sax run as well. Its a fun foot stomping romp of a song. Burgess continues with the great guitar sound as “Fireball Stomp” opens. Hamilton and Williams are laid back, but mark the time perfectly. Burgess gets to solo for a bit while Kendall cheers him on before Williams rumbles the drums back in time. “Scene Of The Crime” has a very cool vibe with Burgess repeating a few guitar notes before the bass and drums swing in. Kendall doesn't have this elaborate range, but he chants when he should and then sings with a snarl in his voice when he needs to. If you are not sure you like rockabilly this would be a song to test yourself on. Its toe taping stuff for sure. “Minute With The Maker” follows suit, book ending the prior track really well. Burgess continues to shine on guitar with a great solo that has that great blend of punch and twang. The song wraps up with one of the few moments so far where there are backing vocal harmonies. “Gretschy” is a little slow to get off the ground, but when it takes off its about as fast as anything on the record. Williams hammers out the beat and Burgess attacks his guitar. Hamilton is thumping the upright bass with quick strokes on this instrumental run. The bass is a little too low in the mix, but the band is really tight on this track. The only vocals are “1-2-3-4” as the band circles around a riff. The bass is a little more even on “Mr Lucky” and Williams seems to get the biggest work out. I am not sure how big his drum kit is, but he makes it sound like a stadium kit, he is just all over the place with tight fills and driving rhythm. Burgess chops his guitar over the bass and drums and Kendall as a particular howl to his voice on the track. “Rollercoaster” follows with Burgess as the lone instrument at the start. He works to get it rolling, then the band comes in and it takes off. He picks at his guitar with Williams and Hamilton locking back to the 12 bar blues with Kendall singing at a machine gun pace. Williams drums get this rumble later in the track that shakes the floorboards. “1965 G.T.O” is the longest track on the record at 3:21. It is a little slower at the start, with Kendall singing a few words before the band all comes in to accent the vocals. After a bit of this Burgess takes off and the band follows suit for a rowdy, quick rumble. “King Of The Joint” continues the same path we have heard, the band doesn't really break new ground, but they do this music so well there really is no need. It will feel very repetitive to some, but your feet are tapping so quickly you tend not to mind. “Wreckin Machine” takes off like a bull out of the gate and the band rumbles along with Kendall singing about has quickly as he can. We seemingly slow things down for “If He Can't”. This is the first track I really feel Hamilton's upright bass gets the attention it deserves. You'll be dropped back in to “Happy Days” with the feel of the song, he just swings it mama. The final two tracks “Harem Caravan” and “Swimming In Drinks” keep true to the entire record. Each member is clear and and on task, the bass rumbles, the drums rumble and the guitar punches you right over the top.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take – I have no idea if the band had much of a ripple outside of New England. If you are a casual fan of the genre, you may get bored quickly. It is a very solid effort, but it can sound repetitive to some that don't have the patience for it. They put a good twist on it with the speed of the songs, hardly ever holding back, if at all. Worth a spin if you can find it for few bucks.

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