Thursday, 5 April 2012

Review: Billy Walton Band

Billy Walton Band - Crank it Up! (Independent)
Why are their bar bands so much more convincing than ours? While English pubs are grateful to be graced with the presence of four arthritic geezers dad-dancing on the graves of long dead standards, our North American cousins seem blessed with an endless supply of tight, soulful and ever-expanding outfits who positively vibrate with the passion of performing; who not only write their own stuff, but burst with the pride of playing it.

Like many a live show this studio set from New Jersey stalwart Walton is a slow burner, feeling its way in through solid but ultimately unremarkable numbers such as the barrel-house ‘Deal With the Band’ and stomper ‘Crank it Up’. When it catches light three songs in with the Stones-inflected ‘Lifeline’ however, it wastes no further time gathering its incendiary stride. ‘The Night the Deal Went Down’ and ‘Till Tomorrow’ cheekily homage local heroes Springsteen and Southside Johnny respectively, but they do it with undeniable panache; and by the time the main man turns his guitar to 11 on a snowballing ‘Night Turns Blue’ you’re left pondering just how much sweat he must cook up under the boardwalk on a Saturday night.
Neil B.

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