Kyle Esplin – K |Album Review

kyleespincdKyle Esplin – K

Confido Records

13 songs time-54:33

Scottish born piano wiz Kyle Esplin presents an international affair with this CD. Two band members are from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, one from Argentina while the recording was done in Germany under producer Rolf Bresser.

The music represents Kyle’s love of fifty’s and sixties piano-based rock and roll with a bit of New Orleans and country music thrown in for good measure. His piano playing owes a lot to the raucous style of “The Killer”, Jerry Lee Lewis. His “white bread” voice works the best on the smoother tunes as it lacks the necessary grit for the more rougher songs. The speed and technicality of his piano playing will make your jaw drop at times. His band is with him at every turn and guitarist Balta Bordoy provides excellent blues-tinged playing.

Right from the git-go the piano jumps at you as it is mixed high. The lead-off track “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” sets the tone for most of what is to come. His voice fits this tune to a “T”. The Jerry Lee Lewis piano-style is put to good use on this song.

“Mean Cheatin’ Woman”, attributed to Dr. John, features some nice boogie-woogie meets New Orleans piano playing sounding way cool. Super human “speed-freak” piano playing is on display on “Mess Around”, a tune associated with both Ray Charles and Dr. John. How does he do that? Pretty amazing stuff.

Huey “Piano” Smith’s “High Blood Pressure” brings more piano fire, but his vocal sounds like a Las Vegas “lounge lizard”…”Hi, I’m Johnny Venture, good to be here”. The seemingly fake exuberance here and on a few others mars the performance.

The most puzzling song here is “Show Business”. I’m not sure if it is intended as a parody as it comes off as being a bit corny. Piano glissandos fly all over the place but the guitar playing is “spot on” as it is on the entire record. “Stag O’ Lee” and “Folsom Prison Blues” are worthy versions. Kenny

Rogers And The First Edition’s “Just Dropped In(To See What Condition Was In) is a choice from “left field”. It starts out with a bluesy piano intro and amazingly listen after listen it actually starts to work, although it brings the listener back to the lounge.

The final three songs bring the Jerry Lee Lewis influence to the forefront- “High School Confidential”, “Great Balls Of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin'”. The first features some period correct “slap-bass”. On the next Kyle actually manages to bring a bit a roughness into his voice. Although the piano pyrotechnics are intact on the last tune, the vocal reverts back to sounding like a Vegas act.

The picture isn’t perfect here, but there is no denying that this guy is a piano freak of nature and a self taught one. Guitarist Balta Bordoy, drummer Jose-Luis Garcia and bass player Pablo di Salvo aren’t far behind.

It would be nice to see what Kyle could do with some original material suited to his voice. But man can that guy burn up the “eighty-eights”.

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