So Many Bars, So Many Saturday Nights
Good Time Rock & Roll For a Friday and Saturday night (or a Tuesday in February too!)
I have absolutely no idea how 'big' Bobbo Byrnes and The Fallen Stars are in the US of A and Canada; probably not filling stadiums or the likes of Madison Square Gardens as I imagine and/or fantasize....but that's what I picture when I play they're albums; and this latest release ain't any different.
At times it's been difficult to tell where Bobbo ends and the characters in his/they're songs evolve; but I'm pretty damn sure the belter of an opener Chasing Rock & Roll is a very personal song; as they hit the ground running with a tale of the thankless task and addiction being a musician can be; starting out as a College Band 'driving across the County in a beat up van' then changing direction more often than a Tory Government! In this case switching from Acoustic Rock and discovering Punk Rock, which meant the transition to 'Marshall stacks' and 'sleeping on the floor in London' ...... history and their subsequent albums tell even more changes were to come; but this song will resonate with bands who are also still *Chasing Rock and Roll in every continent across the globe.
*BTW Bobbo told me that this song was originally called Fighting Rock & Roll and was very angsty, but wife Tracy (as wives do); when asked "What do you think?" replied; "Shouldn't it be Chasing Rock & Roll?" and a million-dollar hit was born!
As usual The Fallen Stars cover a whole lot of ground here; crisscrossing genres at will; coming out the other end with a Johnny Cash fronting the Clash hybrid; which was how I first heard the Waco Brothers described and perfectly suits the feisty Honky Tonk these cats produce with Outlaws and Angels, Walk Away and especially the Folk-Punk of Walk Away which sounds like Steve Erle could have been in the production booth!
Even when I was originally listening to the first track the very first time I found myself attracted to a song called Truckin' Song ...... and found myself thinking "There aren't enough Trucking Songs in Country Rock anymore!" Obviously Willin' springs to mind; but back in the 80's and 90's they were de rigueur; but seemed to die away when Dale Watson did a whole album of them; and Bobbo Byrnes flies the flag with vigor, passion and diesel fumes blowing out of every hard driven groove.
There are two cover's here; and I didn't exactly recognize the first .... originally a hit for The Kingston Trio; Charlie and the MTA; apparently a staple of the Fallen Stars live shows for many years; and featuring some mighty ballsy mandolin playing; eventually got appropriated by the Dropkick Murphy's after seeing our heroes smash it out of the park one night.
The other closes this all too short album; and it's the antithesis to Chasing Rock & Roll Originally sung less than subtly by someone born 8 miles from where I'm sitting, yet he fronted the biggest band to ever come from Australia; it's only Brian Johnson and the AC/DC's Long Way to The Top (if you want to Rock & Roll) which now sounds uncannily like a Ramones song played by a Country band in a roadside diner on a Tuesday night in February ...... which adds frisson like you won't believe; until you hear it!
That leaves two songs to fight it out for the title of RMHQ favourite Song; the crash and stomp anti-love song that is Different Beds; a song that will scare the neighbors when cranked up to 10; and the other is slightly less frightening; but very imaginative when you know it's written by a 'happy loving couple' which probably makes the slightly sexy Outlaws and Angels my favourite by a whisker; with Tracy's harmonizing sounding quite threatening at times.
It's all too easy to be a Springsteen fan or Tom Petty or even if you are of 'a certain age' Bob Seger perhaps; but what with the recent retirement of the Waco Brothers, Bobbo Byrnes and the Fallen Stars are my 'go to' band for good time Rock & Roll on a Friday and Saturday night (and a Tuesday in February too!)
Released August 21st 2021