Review: Nick Curran and the Lowlifes – Reform School Girl
Posted on: Saturday, Mar 13, 2010
NICK CURRAN & THE LOWLIFES
“Reform School Girl”
(Eclecto Groove Records: EGRCD509)
From the superb West Coast-based Eclecto Groove Records, comes the latest offering from retro-rocker Nick Curran. The Maine-born, Austin, Texas-based Curran, once again delivers an exciting mix of rockabilly, r&b, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, with mainly original tunes highlighting his rip-roaring guitar work and amazing vocals – sounding again like a genuine 50s rocker!
After a couple of more modern sounding records for Blind Pig Records, he turns back to the feel of his early releases on the Texas Jamboree label, with “Reform School Girl” again recorded at Billy Horton’s studio, Fort Horton, in Wyldwood, Texas, with the vintage equipment giving his work that authentic 50s feel. Horton hold down the bass duties here and co-produces with Curran.
The rest of the band comprise of Derek Bossanova (piano), Jon Doyle (tenor saxophone), Dan Torosian (tenor and baritone saxophone) and Nikki K (drums), together with several background vocalists. A couple of special guests are fellow Eclecto Groove artiste Jason Ricci on harmonica, and Phil Alvin on vocals and guitar.
Curran blasts off with the opening “Tough Lover” – a classic 50s r&b stormer, with honking saxophones and a Little Richard edge to the vocal; followed by the rockabilly rave-up “Reel Rock Party”, with the afore-mentioned Jason Ricci on harmonica. He takes somewhat of a swerve on the title cut, his own “Reform School Girl”, recalling the girl groups of the early 60s, such as The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las.
The sinister “Kill My Baby” is again sax-driven, and leads into the short-but-sweet tear-up that is “Psycho” . . . . 1.57 of pure dynamite with Curran letting loose with a killer guitar solo. “Baby You Crazy” dips back to Little Richard territory and is another energetic romp, with the rockabilly tune “Ain’t No Good” fairly rattling along, as does the rocking “The Lowlife”.
The pace is taken down on “Dream Girl”, with impassioned vocal and some sparkling guitar; “Flying Blind” is a great song, co-written with The Blasters mainman Phil Alvin, who shares the vocals and guitar duties – definitely an album highlight. A thoroughly enjoyable 14 tracks end with a 1.28 romp through AC/DCs “Rocker”, time enough for more honking saxophones and another customary Nick Curran guitar solo . . . great stuff.
Curran has packed a lot into his 32 years . . . from being out on the road with Ronnie Dawson, then a stint in Kim Lenz’s band, The Jaguars, before a high profile three years as co-guitarist in The Fabulous Thunderbirds . . . but here he is doing the material he loves best and simply having a ball!
(At the time of writing Nick is currently in Austin being treated for a cancer – we wish him all the best)
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