Great Con Job – Review by Gary deWall

Posted by admin on September 16, 2018 Reviews | | No comments
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Gary deWall – Blues Times – A publication of The Sydney Blues Society:


I go to the letterbox and there’s a CD from The Bellhops. Beauty, they have finally released their new studio album, Do Not Disturb, which I named, and this is the copy I won (complete with signatures and DNA samples from the band if I remember the description of the prize correctly). Nope! It’s a new live album recorded live (of course) at the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium, and cleverly titled The Great Con Job. Well, their trademark sense of humour is intact.

In search of elusive gigs, The Bellhops contracted first to the 3 piece Hellboppers, then to a vehicle for Ian Dittman’s songs called The Bottle Rocket Combo, but here they are back in all their 6 piece glory, and it’s great to hear them again. Ian Dittman’s great vocals and guitar, John Russell’s slashing slide, the rock solid engine room of Mark Roulston (bass) and Steve”Wrongway” Lovarini (drums), and of course the duelling saxes of Stephen O’Connell (tenor) and Ed Schots (Baritone). Lineups don’t get much better than this.

Five of the tracks here have been on their earlier albums but certainly bear repeating. The other 8 tracks
are covers from their live repertoire and what a great bunch of songs they are. Favourites like Thrill is gone, Personal manager, CC Rider, Who’s been talkin’, Walking the dog and I’m ready all allow the guys to strut their collective stuff. And of course there’s theJeff Cripps number, Saturday Night, which I reckon is a modern rock ‘n’ roll classic. There’s lots of great guitar, including lashings of JR’s slide, and heaps of big honking brass, all pulled together by Ian’s fine vocals and carried along by Mark & Steve’s interesting and entertaining back line.

This is a typically very enjoyable Bellhops album and an essential addition to your Bellhops CD collection. If you haven’t got one, start it with this CD.

As for Do Not Disturb, I guess the financial realities of promoting a 6 piece band and selling CDs in today’s music scene mean we probably won’t see it for a while. Doesn’t matter – we can still enjoy Room Service, No Reservations, and The Great Con Job.

Gary deWall – Blues Times