Rochelle & the Sidewinders – Something Good | Album Review

Rochelle & the Sidewinders – Something Good

Self-produced CD

19 songs – 74 minutes

Fronted by honey-voiced alto Rochelle Creone, Rochelle & the Sidewinders have been Texas’ big little secret for the past six years, building a huge regional following at festivals and clubs across the Lone Star State. But they should burst beyond the borders with this long-awaited and well-deserved follow-up to their debut CD, Live in Austin Texas.

A high-energy quintet that features Tom Coplen on guitar and former Stevie Ray Vaughan and Nick Curran bandmate Jim Trimmier on horns and keys, they produce a sound that’s deeply rooted in the bluesy, soul-drenched sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but thoroughly updated for the 21st century in a package that will have you tiring yourself out on the dance floor.

Rochelle – who bills herself as the Texas Songbird — and Tom penned all 19 tracks of this massive, 74-minute effort, which was recorded at 512 and co-producer George Storey’s LRK Studios just prior to COVID-19 but comes across with the feel of a live set. The band’s roster’s rounded out by the rock-solid rhythm section of Adam Stafford on bass and Andrew Tuck on percussion and backing vocals.

Things heat up from the opening notes of “Good Love,” a stop-time shuffle built atop a heavy, repeating Texas blues guitar/horn hook. A powerful, melismatic alto, Rochelle explodes on the scene after a brief intro as she voices her regret after realizing her good thing has walked out the door for good. The band kicks it up a couple of notches for “Rub a Dub” — a rapid-fire announcement that it’s time for love – before dropping to a whisper for “Something Good,” a six-plus-minute ballad that returns to the lost-love theme and gives Coplen plenty of space to shine.

The loping “Treat Me the Way You Do” swings like a pendulum as Rochelle announces that it’s time to find someone new and gives Trimmier an extended solo before the funk kicks in for “Monkey See Monkey Do,” a highly percussive, stop-time number with a complex, jazzy arrangement. Next up, “Dr. Groove” finds the band updating the James Brown & the Fabulous Flames groove as the singer professes her love for the physician.

The uptempo rocker “Raggedy Ann Stomp” mirrors ‘60s sensibilities before the Sidewinders ease into “I’d Be So Blue,” an unhurried statement about how lonely Rochelle would have been if “not for two.” Then they fire on all cylinder for the rocker, “Happy Boy,” a another number that successfully turns back the clock. A regimented drumbeat and bass solo open the jazzy instrumental “Take It from the Top” before Rochelle’s romantic fortunes take a turn for the worse again in “I’m on My Way,” but she still maintains hope in “Make It Right.”

“Party Time” delivers more funk atop a medium-paced shuffle before the rocker “I’ve Got a Shadow” adds more heat to the fire. The torch song “Blues for the Night” keeps things searing before the Sidewinders explode once more with the rapid-fire “Pressure Cooker.” Three more pleasers — “Working for a Living” – which professes that “life’s too short, the days are too long,” “I Can’t Let You Go” – another song of regret, and “Letter to Layla” – a sweet, stripped-down love letter to a daughter – bring the action to a close.

Available through Amazon, Apple Music and direct through the band’s website (address above), Something Good is just that. Strongly recommended – especially if you’re looking for a dance workout.

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