Ralli Rock – Locked Up and Blue?
ContraMusik Produktion (Germany)
CD: 13 Songs, 50 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs, Solo Album
Happy New Year, everyone! I’m ringing in 2023 with Germany’s Ralli Rock and his new album, Locked Up and Blue? The title has a question mark, but who wouldn’t have the blues during a COVID lockdown? That’s what detained Ralli during a visit to distant relatives in Australia. “What do you do as a musician?” states his press release. “You form a small temporary band with whiskey bootlegger friends, drink wonderful Australian whiskey and imported white wine from Alsace, and work on some outstanding songs.” When he was finally back home, Ralli set about recording these and a few more tracks of his own in a larger studio. Mr. Rock played all of the instruments himself, even though the CD sounds more like it came from a complete band. It boasts 13 songs full of classic hard rock based on the blues. What Ralli lacks in nuance and subtlety, he makes up for in fearless intensity. The lyrics are on the basic side (“A big black heart is what I got. A big black heart is what I got. A big black heart that you cannot stop. A big black heart is what I got,”) but you’ll hardly be able to hear them. This CD is LOUD.
That said, Rock shows surprising depth on instruments that aren’t guitar – most notably the harmonica. Vocally, he sounds like the German version of Tom Petty, whose singing has always been more conversational than tonal. On shredder, he is indeed a “Vicious Beast,” as he proves on the opening number, “Old Laughing Stock.” “Just Because of You” features a lovely acoustic intro. The highlight is a blues rock extravaganza called “(I Know) the Meaning of the Blues,” blending classic fretwork and postmodern angst in equal measure. Purists may say that putting the word “blues” in rock songs doesn’t make them blues songs. They’d be right. However, if they listen closely, they might hear some influence from the latter genre’s masters.
Ralli is a formidable one-man band, playing all guitars, organ, drums and percussion, synth, bass and vocals. His third effort will cure you of any aftereffects of a New Year’s party!