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The Racketeers

The Racketeers – 1998 (Scollay Square)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by The Racketeers

The toast of Boston's rockabilly scene for the last couple of years, the Racketeers have also been something of a local secret, though a 1997 EP released on the UK's Crazy Gator label did wonders in terms of gaining them a wider audience.

So the good news is that the Racketeers have finally released their first full-length album and it's a doozy; delivering fully on the promise of the now-out-of-print EP. There's nothing "neo-rockabilly" or "psychobilly" to be found here - just straight-ahead vintage-sounding rockabilly with a strong tip o' the hat to Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps and Eddie Cochran, in particular. In fact, drummer Dana Stewart's lead vocals are, at times, nearly indistinguishable from Cochran's; most notably on "Easy On the Slacks."

Though to some ears the group's songs will probably sound pretty much like rewrites of 40-year-old material, the fact is that the group performs the 11 originals with such enthusiasm and talent that it hardly matters. What's more, the group swings with the best of 'em (particularly on "Rock Shop Hop"); something that too many rockabilly bands have either never learned or forgotten how to do. A top-notch debut. (The Racketeers, 22 Kingsboro Park #1/Boston, MA 02130)