Review: Rosco Levee – Final Approach To Home

Posted on: Friday, Jan 4, 2013

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Rosco Levee – Final Approach To Home

(Redtrain Records)

Hands up! I must confess to coming across Rosco Levee quite late, via an advert in the fine “R2” magazine and a track on one of their eclectic cover-mounted CDs . . . the rollocking “97-3”, which is to be found amongst 12 originals here on “Final Approach To Home”.

Hailing from Kent, Levee and his band straddle the same turf as North Wales finest, The Loving Cup, and Scottish outfit, The New Madrids . . . . a heady brew of rootsy rock and bluesy swagger . . . eg Robert Johnson, Delaney & Bonnie, The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, ‘countryfied’ Rolling Stones and more!

The five piece band, apart from Levee on vocals, lead and slide guitar and percussion, comprise: Lee Wilson (Hammond organ and piano), Simon Gardiner (bass, percussion and backing vocals), Andy Hayes (rhythm guitar and mandolin) and David Tettmar (drums and backing vocals), with additional help from Peter Jackson (banjo, backing vocals, and percussion), Duncan Mackay (trumpet), Ian Cutler (violin) and Lee Charles (harmonica) . . . and what a joyous sound they all make here.

This rootsy treat was recorded in Rosco Levee’s home county, straight to tape over ten days at Ranscombe Analogue Studio in Rochester, and produced by Levee and the band . . . who kick off with the rousing slide-driven country rocker “Goldrush”; which is followed by the more acoustic, “Seven Seas My Name” . . . again it fairly rattles along, courtesy of the rhythm section of Gardiner and Tettmar. The bluesy shuffle of “All May Change Tonight” takes the pace up and gives Levee a chance to show off his fine lead guitar work and soulful voice.

The lovely country tune “Never Stops” is a treat, with banjo and mandolin to the fore and some delightful harmony vocals; “I Got Soul” indeed has that, as Levee and the band dig into Southern soul territory, with some weeping slide guitar and a vocal from the heart. The afore-mentioned “97-3” starts in a mellow mode before the whole ensemble thunder in . . . it’s another uptempo slide-driven belter and a standout here.

“Headlight Burn” is a crunchy rocker, driven by some sparkling piano from Lee Wilson . . . and it leads into the ‘runaway train’ that is “Old Bessie”, another gem that must be an absolute stormer live, as Wilson again tinkles the ivories in fine style. “Final Approach To Home” ends in fine style with the big country ballad start of  “When You’re Gone To Ramble”, which then turns into a strutting and funky rocker . . . riding on a great guitar riff from Rosco Levee.

A great debut, which bodes well for the future . . . here’s hoping Mr Levee and the band can make it to the North West in 2013!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.roscolevee.com

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