Cousin Harley – The Dutch Sessions | Album Review

cousinharleycdCousin Harley – The Dutch Sessions

Little Pig Records  – 2015

10 tracks; 28 minutes 

Cousin Harley is Canadian guitarist Paul Pigat’s rockabilly project and this is their fifth album since 2002.  The band is based in Vancouver but plays worldwide, this recording being made during a weekend off on a tour of Europe.  As befits rock and roll from the classic era this is short and sweet with only one song passing the 3.30 time mark.  The material is all drawn from the repertoire of the great rock and roll and country performers such as Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Buck Owens and Jim Reeves.  Blues fans should note those names because while this album is great fun it contains no actual blues content.  Paul is on ‘git box and hollerin’ (guitar and vocals) with Keith Picot ‘bull fiddle’ (upright bass) and Jesse Cahill ‘tubs’ (drums).

Opener “I’m Coming Home” fairly rattles along with plenty of twangy guitar over a frenetic rhythm section.  “Glad All Over” was the last song that Carl Perkins recorded for Sun and runs less than two minutes, Paul’s guitar recreating the Sun sound perfectly.  Rudy Toombs wrote “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and “One Mint Julep” as well as “5 – 10 – 15 Hours” for Ruth Brown but “Teardrops From My Eyes” is one of his less celebrated songs, played here with a fine rocking solo from Paul at its heart.  I was unable to discover anything about “I’m Feeling Bad” or “Rock Therapy”, the former another classic rockabilly tune, the latter a great rock and roll anthem in which the singer needs treatment and ‘rock therapy’ appears to be the answer – great stuff!  Quebec’s Les Jaguars is the source for the melancholy instrumental “Mer Morte” (Dead Sea in English), originally a regional hit in 1963.

The band takes a country detour with Jim Reeves’ “Yonder Comes A Sucker” which encourages cries of “Yee-Hah” from the outset whereas “Whatcha Gonna Do When There Ain’t No Swing” is a complete contrast with its elegant approach that recalls 1920’s Django Reinhardt, Paul playing subtly over Jesse’s brushes and Keith’s gentle bass pulse.  Buck Owens’ “Rhythm And Booze” returns to a more raucous approach with more twanging guitar before the album closes with a run-through of “Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie”, best known from Eddie Cochran’s 1958 hit version.

Not blues but plenty of rocking fun!

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