JD McPherson “Let The Good Times Roll”
When JD McPherson first hit the music world with his debut “Signs And Signifiers”, the level of success and press attention must have come as a bit of a surprise. It’s not exactly as if the commercial world is known for welcoming a fifties/rockabilly style sound. However, the quality of that album was so damn good that perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a shock. This time around the challenge is to match that debut and deal with the weight of expectation that success has brought.
Any fears are soon put firmly to bed by the brilliant title track “Let The Good Times Roll” which opens the album. It thankfully, also confirms that we are not going to see some sort of ‘reinvention’, the track is firmly in the old school rock n roll camp. The energy and high spirits are kept up with “Bossy” another vibrant track.
JD McPherson is really at his best when he adds a bit of hip shaking and funk into the mix (see the brilliant “Firebug” from his debut). On this album, “It’s All Over But The Shouting” is a guaranteed floor filler. Songs like that one and “It Shook Me Up” are the ones which will really get you dancing around the kitchen.
One of the real highlights on the album is “Head Over Heels” which, whilst still firmly rooted in fifties rock n roll, has a more contemporary feel similar to what we heard on the album by The Caezars (a brilliant young UK band). Tracks like “Shy Boy” and “You Must Have Met Little Caroline?” have an added ‘something’ and it’s this ability to bring the sound bang up to date which makes JD McPherson so special.
For the romantics there is, of course, a heartfelt ballad in the shape of “Bridge Builder”, a slow and seductive tune that just crawls along. Whilst “Precious” is another great soul number which will have you turning the lights down.
For us though, we look to JD McPherson for some good old rock n roll and the album is just full of that. “Mother Of Lies” is a great, retro sounding number which blends rock n roll with an almost Northern Soul sound. The album then ends with a real bang on “Everybody’s Talking About The All-American”, which is as traditional rock n roll as anything by the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis etc.
There really is something very special about JD McPherson. His songs are unashamedly ‘retro’ and clearly influenced by days gone by. However, he manages to add something (and we can’t put our fingers on exactly what that ‘something’ is!) that makes the songs sound fresh and relevant today. It is far too easy for this style to just sound clichéd and nostalgic, but these are just timeless songs. JD McPherson is in an exclusive club with the likes of Darrel Higham and his wife Imelda May in creating a rock n roll sound which is as relevant and exciting now as it would have been if it had been released fifty years ago ….which is no mean feat!