Jack Rabbit Slim – “Won’t Stay Down”
It’s always nice when a band choose an appropriate title for their album and this is certainly true of the latest release from Jack Rabbit Slim. The band have been going in one shape or form for a considerable number of years. Having undergone a further line up change, the band would appear determined to keep being a leading light in the rock scene here in the UK. Importantly, this means not just retreading old ground but maintaining a forward thinking sound.
The album certainly opens with a statement of intent in the form of “The Devil’s Bone”. It’s a brash, in your face, rock n roll number. It is rockabilly in source, but with a modern flourish added. This is followed up with an even better song called “Pretty In Ink” which has some great lyrics about a girl you probably wouldn’t want to take home to your mother (although you’d certainly want to take her home!). The appreciation of the female of the species continues with “Natalie Wood”, described as a “goddess of the silver screen”, this song is certainly a fitting tribute to her.
The key to the success of Jack Rabbit Slim is their constant willingness to just add something a bit different. “The Jesus Of Cool” adds another nice twist as, not surprisingly given the title, it has a really cool swing beat. It is very retro but also has a kind of punk under tone. On “10lbs Of Sand” we also see that punk energy, but this time it is offset by delivering a humorous feel rather than an angry tone. The punk feel returns with “Our Right To Riot” which adds a slightly political side to the lyrics. It therefore comes across almost like a rockabilly band covering a Clash song.
The band aren’t afraid to tip a hat to the past and on “A Little In Love”, there is a far more retro rockabilly theme to the song. It has that proper fifties Elvis feel to it. It provides a nice short, sharp, shot of fun. Speaking of fun, a special mention must go to my favourite track on the album, “MacLaine”. The curve ball this one throws, is by starting out like a classic T Rex track such as “Get It On”. It has that same chugging guitar which is joined by a piano before the drums drop in. It is probably the best song on the album, as it has an easy going, effortlessly cool feel to it. It also has a neat line in British Seaside based lyrics. It had better be hoped, however, that Marc Bolan’s estate don’t become too familiar with the song!
The album then draws to a close with “Room 337”. It is quite nice how the album ends, just as it started, with an upbeat, passionate, rockabilly song.
This is a really great album, it’s steeped in the tradition of rock ‘n’ roll but importantly has a modern production and twist to it. This means it is totally relevant and not just for old school rockabilly fans. It is actually similar to the work of Darrel Higham and especially his work with Kat Men. It is bands like Jack Rabbit Slim which are essential to not only keep rockabilly alive, but also to keep it progressing.