Frenchman Olivier Laporte aka Roy Thompson and his band The Mellow Kings have got the retro rhythm & blues sound down to a science, whether it’s a little known cover or and original. It’s hard to differentiate between the two as Roy’s grasp of the genre is amazing. His voice and the sound of the band could of just as well been from the fifties’ era. From the wailing sax and rockabilly guitar to the boogie-woogie piano styling’s, it’s all here. This is a totally enjoyable experience from beginning to end.
Otis Blackwell’s “Oh What A Wonderful Time” evokes Louis Jordan and gets you in a good mood to start things off. The jumping R&B continues with “Burnt Toast And Black Coffee”. The title tune features some really authentic sounding rockabilly guitar from Bastien Alzuria. The energetic instrumental “Hoppin” Mad” takes the listening back to a sock hop. The original “My Lovin’ Kind” features a bluesy guitar solo.
The piano craftsmanship of Jean Pierre Cardot is a highlight of the original “Tighten Heart”. “You Got Me” finds Roy in good voice as Freddy Pohardy Riteau’s sax vies for time with the guitar. Some nice boogie-woogie piano enhances “Take Me Back”. Little Richard’s “I Love My Baby” features drummer Gael Petetin on some tasty vibraphone playing. A “plucky” string section and twangy guitar compliment each other on the slow “I Don’t Wanna Leave”.
The fellows turn in a close to the original version of the New Orleans’ classic “Cha Dooky Doo” which was originally done by Art Neville, later of The Neville Brothers Band. It’s taken at a slightly slower pace, but it is just fine. The original “Kokomo Joe” once again brings in the influence of Louis Jordan with its’ infectious tom-tom beat. Johnny Otis’ sexy late night instrumental “The Midnight Creeper” finishes up this recording on a high note.
There is nothing to not like here. The grasp these Frenchman have on this fifties sound demonstrates the universality of timeless music. If I were you I would pick this one up, throw it on the stereo and put on your high heeled sneakers. Later Daddio and Daddio-ettes!