Take doses of Jerry Lee Lewis, AC/DC, Lynnrd Skynnrd – add a couple of gramms of Paul Westberg’s crisp ear for a tune, and mix with a dancing dervish and you’ll come close to getting the good-time boogie and blues of J. Roddy Walston and the Business – officially this Monkey’s favourite new band.
The band formed in Baltimore, though Walston originally comes from Cleveland Tenessee – supposedly the town with the most churches per head of population in the States – and it seems that being on the periphery of the ‘music industry’ has done them a world of good. The band tour 130-150 shows a year throughout the whole of the states, and you can really hear the energy of the live band on their 2010 debut J Roddy Wolston and the Business.
Recorded in Sound City studios – the Hollywood studio famed for its run down shabby appearance and divine acoustics (the legend is that the owners refused to clean or tidy anything in the studio for fear of ruining the sound). Listening to the opener Don’t Break the Needle, with its rolling piano, fuzzy guitars, and driving drums you can feel the same spirit that moved artists like Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty when they recorded there. It’s quite simply a classic.
It’s not that they’re doing anything tremendously original – give them time, they’re young – but that’s the beauty of great rock n’roll. You can take the framework of the blues and gospel, and fill it with your own personality and groove. Every note you choose, and its timing and relationship with the other players is a brushstroke, and on even the most hum-drum of songs on this collection, like full grown man for example, they’re painting magnificent pictures.
Another highlight is the brilliantly ramshackle Pigs and Pearls, which sounds like it was written on the spot in a moment of divine inspiration. It’s got a killer chorus, vintage guitar, and vocals that scream. We’re talking Exile on Main Street here…
Enough. This is the sort of album that deserves to be listened to rather than read about. Do yourself a favour and check it out.