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Green Room Blues
Artist: The Deluxtone Rockets
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
 

With the swing fad thankfully over and their horn section gone for good, Green Room Blues finds The Deluxtone Rockets pursuing a more rockabilly-oriented direction. Several tracks bring to mind Wreck Your
Life-era Old 97s, while others recall nothing so much as Johnny Cash-lite. Only the closer, "Judgment Day," recalls the swing Rockets of old, and even it, with the absence of horns, doesn’t sound trendy.

Frontman Johnny Rocketti isn’t a bad songwriter, but his main problem is that he tries to cover too much musical territory. Case in point: the very rockabilly opener "Broken Heart" melts into a well-executed, if poorly positioned cover of The Cure’s classic "Love Song." The rest of the album follows suit, going from swing to country ballad to rockabilly and back again-­this is disorienting, and cuts up the album too much. Too bad, because with the amount of fun this band injects into both their music and their live shows, this album could have been great.

Michial Farmer 2/26/2001

The Deluxtone Rockets have returned two years after their energetic, self titled party album which, to me, was one of the major highlights of the swing/ska revival. They’ve returned, but not the same. They’ve gone from six-piece to four piece, having abandoned their three piece horn section completely. Two new members, Rodney (from the Calicoes) on drums and Lonnie with the fretboard, join lead vocalist Johnny Brown and bassist Jimmy VanBoxel. The result is a stylistic leap which reminds one of DC Talk’s leap between Free At Last and Jesus Freak.

Yet, in essence, this is the same Deluxtone Rockets. Huh? There’s no horns, this ain’t swing, and they sure didn’t remind one of Johnny Cash on their last album! But at the root of both albums is one vital element: rock ‘n’ roll. Last time, they explored the premise of rock ‘n’ roll with blaring horns and a stack of party-tunes. With Green Room Blues, they’re still playing rock ‘n’ roll: they’re just playing it with a different perspective, I guess you could say. 

Green Room Blues sees the Deluxtone Rockets taking a brave step forward, not only musically but also lyrically. Whereas the debut was lyrically quite shallow, Green Room Blues takes a deeper look at the band’s faith, struggles and experiences. Yet another sign that the Deluxtone Rockets are maturing and really finding their niche with Green Room Blues

Eric Daams 3/17/2001

The Deluxtone Rockets have adopted a new sound on Green Room Blues, with more rockabilly and less swing.  With no horn section, the band sounds different and their lyrics have taken a great leap from their debut.  In addition to a new sound, the band has two new members and although they are still called the Deluxtone Rockets, they seem to be a new group.  Overall, the songs are enjoyable, but sometimes it seems the band is exploring too many different kinds of music all at the same time.  This makes the album a little choppy, but lets the listener see the Deluxtone Rockets experiment in areas they hadn t before.

Chelsea Lewis 3/22/2001


 

Sans horns, the Rockets boldly revamp their previous sound, pushing further  into rowdy rockabilly territory and away from swing. The new songs retain the signature bass, guitar, and drum core, yet expand their sound with unexpected  but pleasant piano flourishes, among other surprise passementerie. 

Under the tutelage of the late, great Gene Eugene (Producer Extraordinaire),  the Rockets have successfully made the transition into a more streamlined  rock and roll unit, while retaining much of the raw energy, wit and overall  enthusiasm of their previous work. The result, Green Room Blues, is a more  mature and eclectic effort. Considerable attention was paid to creating songs, not just full-throttle jams, and it shows here in a tight, diverse collection. Over all, their heed to songcraft was not only a step in the right direction, it's one that proves the Deluxtone Rockets have staying power beyond the one-hit wonders of the ACM world. 

Steven S. Baldwin 4/21/2001 

   
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