Friday 19 January 2018

A slice of pure 1955 from rockabilly JD

John Meagher

John Meagher


Signs & Signifiers



The belated success of Imelda May shows there are a lot of people out there with a gra for rockabilly. The Dubliner mines this vintage strain of music particularly well, but there are plenty of other Brylcreemed souls out there who like to rock like it's 1955.

One of them is JD McPherson, a young man from Oklahoma who claims to have been influenced by The Wu-Tang Clan. Don't believe a word of it -- every note and bar of this debut album is in thrall to the era of James Dean, blue jeans with turn-ups and diners stuffed with pretty, amply-bosomed waitresses.

Ten of the 12 tracks are original McPherson compositions and are so lovingly honed they could have come straight from a time vault.

The pace rarely slackens with Fire Bug and North Side Gal, in particular, bursting from the traps and holding your rapt attention for their short spans.

The whole thing is over in a lean 35 minutes and while one can't fault McPherson's dedication to a specific time and place, his retro fixation does feel a little like karaoke here and there.

By all accounts, his real forté is in the live setting -- much as it is with Imelda May -- so here's hoping an Irish date is in the offing.

Key tracks North Side Gal; Fire Bug

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