Review: Jason Vivone and The Billy Bats – Lather Rinse Repeat

Posted on: Thursday, Dec 20, 2012


Jason Vivone and The Billy Bats – Lather Rinse Repeat


The spirit of ‘Big’ Joe Turner is alive and well enjoying life in the shape and form of one Kansas born and bred Jason Vivone; his vim, verve and simple lust for life takes musical shape in the delicious merging of hill country and rockabilly, with a vigorous fifties rock’n’roll feel that is infused with a backbone of the blues, laced with a jaunty fusing of gospel and soul.

The combination of banjo, cigar box slide and a sweetly enticing shuffling percussive sound make for spine-tingling music.  When Jason’s voice isn’t hollering an invitation to you it is sweetly and personally canoodling your senses with an almost whispering seductiveness that is reminiscent of the fragile intonations of Harry Nilsson.

The ever flying Billy Bats are; Matt Bustamante; drums, Jeremy Clarke; bass, Paula Crawford; vocals, guitar, Imani Glasgow; vocals, percussion and Ben Hoppes; vocals, banjo, together they combine to create a fun and frolicking time with such numbers as; “I Hear A Heartbeat,” an electrifying slide driven story of  a young mans’ finger fumbling efforts on his sweater wearing girlfriend, while the slow syncopation of “Baby Fat,” is a lovingly crafted ode to the larger lady.

The undoubted toe-tapper is “The Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria,” a slide driving hook laden demon in the style of Elmore James, which has the most enticing chorus. “One Hot Mother,” is a loping, slowburning artfully sensuous banjo driven salacious story of an unaware hip wiggling mother on the daily school run with all and sundry left staring dumbfounded in amazement.

The most haunting and saddening numbers to be found on the album are “Photograph,” melancholic vocals, guitarwork and the disconcerting listless percussion shape a sad tale of a man whose only relationship with a woman is the possession of her photograph in his wallet and “Medusa Blues,” the chilling combination of Jason’s forlorn high pitched vocal accompanied by a dour bassline and almost weeping harmonica, is very unsettling.

On a happier note there is “The Nod,” a fine addition to the dance craze genre, with its frantic Bo Diddley guitar razoring slashes; as you can imagine everyone can Nod!

A very fine album indeed!



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