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Rudy Grayzell

Let's Get Wild – 1998 (Sideburn)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Rudy Grayzell

Rudy Grayzell's "Duck Tail" has been one of the more frequently covered'50's rockabilly classics for many years. Though Grayzell has recorded infrequently in recent years (the most recent release probably being a '91 EP on the Norton label), this is easily his most high-profile release in years, barring reissues of his original '50's sides.

Backed by the Missouri-based The Skeletons (one of the Last Great American Bar Bands) and produced by the group's Lou Whitney, this is a good - though not quite great - return to form. As one would expect, Grayzell has recut several of his original '50's numbers, including "Duck Tail," "Hearts of Stone" and "Judy." The only number that doesn't really work is "F.B.I. Story," which really hasn't aged that well, partly because of its square-jawed he-man references to J. Edgar Hoover. The silly machine gun sound effects don't help much, either.

Fortunately, the rest of the album is on solid footing, with Grayzell and The Skeletons running through a solid rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Big Blon' Baby" and new numbers like "If You Want to See Me Cry." Grayzell sounds terrific; a powerful, professional voice that the years have been kind to. (Sideburn Records, 3158 East Burnside, Portland, OR 97214 or e-mail: music@burnsiderecords.com)