Reviews

To The Top with the Blackfoot Gypsies


By Brian Rock

Once upon a time, before there was self-conscious, focus-grouped, infinite genre-subgrouping of music, there was Rock and Roll. Raw, unadulterated, energetic Rock and Roll. The Blackfoot Gypsies revive that glorious, undiluted era with their latest release, To The Top.

Part Black Crowes, part Blackfoot and part Black Keys, The Blackfoot Gypsies play raw, exciting Rock and Roll that’s meant to be played LOUD.

Listening to the first few bars of the lead track, “I’m So Blue,” you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a newly discovered Yardbirds track. With crunchy, blues rock guitar chords, punctuated with wailing harmonica, it feels as if you’ve stepped back in time to the swinging London club scene of 1962. “Everybody’s Watching” keeps the amps pumping at full volume with a raucous Moby Grape, proto-punk explosion of guitars, horns and drums. “Promise To Keep” adds a Dickie Betts influenced, southern rock guitar anthem to the mix.

As for “mix,” the band has other facets as well, which they highlight in this 15 song set. They are clearly well versed in Rockabilly and Folk as indicated by their Flying Burrito Brothers’ inspired “Potatoes and Whiskey” and the Dylanesque “Woman Woman.” They lay down some authentic, bead-throwing Dixieland Jazz in “Back to New Orleans.” “Velvet Low Down Blues,” is a straight, no chaser, Country Blues that would bring a tear to Hank Williams’ eyes. And “I’ve Got the Blues,” is authentic enough to make Robert Johnson say, “That’s what I’m talking ’bout!”

But what the Blackfoot Gypsies do best and most often is ROCK. From the Black Crowes/Rolling Stones synergy of “I Had A Vision” to the “Going To The Country” era Steve Miller sound of “Lying Through Your Teeth,” to the Bo Didley-esque “Gypsy Queen,” and on to Bowie’s “Jean Jeanie” influenced, “Why Should I Try,” The Gypsies beg, borrow, and steal the best hooks from the best rock acts and make them their own. If you thirst for pure rock and roll in a world of “alt,” “emo,” “techno…” then fill your cup To The Top with the latest from Blackfoot Gypsies.


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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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