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Blue Moon Boys

Sticks and Stones – 1999 (Beat Time)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Blue Moon Boys

Ft. Wayne, Indiana's Blue Moon Boys have stumbled upon a particularly great recipe for rockabilly, passed down from the genre's forefathers in the '50's to the current crop of swing maniacs flooding store and stage. The Boys are equally aware of Carl Perkins and Rev. Horton Heat, and they sprinkle their sound with the country authenticity of the former and the energetic rock passion of the latter. The delicious results are served hot on the band's third full-length album.

Lead vocalist Nic Roulette is the perfect tattooed, T-shirted, pompadoured frontman, delivering standard rockabilly subject matter with full bore intensity and attitude. It's easy to think of Brian Setzer when he growls out stompers like "The Monkey Song" or "Smashed Down Flat," and the band provides plenty of Stray Cats references just in case you miss the obvious ones. Guitarist Kenny Taylor has an especially strong grounding in history, as he peels off licks from every rockabilly generation, but manages to toss in a few of his own.

BMB do a lot of emulating, but they are not slavish or reverent about their craft. The CD features a lot of seriously great tunes, but tracks like "Hellfire!" and "I Should've Shut My Mouth Instead" show the band's playful side. The closers reinforce that idea with a Link Wray instrumental spoof ("Grumble") and the second reference to the land down under ("She's Mean as Hell"). The Blue Moon Boys are rootsy, red hot and righteous without being morbidly retro or joylessly derivative.