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Sean Mencher

Sean Mencher – 2006 (Goofin')

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Sean Mencher

Tackling a cornucopia of roots music styles, rockabilly regenerator Sean Mencher has crafted a 14-song set that pushes his genre's boundaries with zeal and class.

Mencher puckishy incorporates the disparate sounds of accordion-happy zydeco ("Bayou Beauty"), the Chet Atkins reworking of a classical chestnut "Orchi chornye" ("Mustat Silmat") and a Spanish language ditty replete with Mexican trumpets ("Vamos A La Playa"). The eclectic approach is startlingly similar to Deke Dickerson's, but boasts a more dangerous sonic atmosphere and a rawer vocal sense.

More traditionally, Mencher embraces acoustic boxcar blues ("Crying the Blues Over You"), fiddle-sawing country standards ("Settin' the Woods on Fire") and helps an early Buddy Holly-Bob Montgomery tune ("Down the Line") make a delightful return to its hillbilly bop origins.

Longtime fans will be glad to learn that Mencher is still one of this era's best rockabilly ravers. As a guitarist, his freewheeling attack heightens the smartly danceable solo interludes. Moreover, despite an occasionally hoarse throat, the High Noon co-founder performs with full-throttle abandon on a variety of twangy swing ("All the Time"), jazzy jive ("Don't Big Shot Me") and tough-toned bass slappers ("Hot Rod Mama," "Hit Git and Split"). Impressive stuff indeed.