No Reservations 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:


Well, it’s been a while between drinks but it was worth the wait! The Bellhops second CD, complete with interesting liner notes by Count Juan De Trefoar, is finally here. A Bellhops performance is all about having fun, and this album captures that sentiment beautifully. It’s all here – lan Dittman’s great vocals, John Russell slippin’ and slidin’ all over the place, Steve O’Connell and Ed Schots having sax duels (is a tenor versus a baritone a fair fight?), and the rhythm section of Mark Roulston and Steve ‘Wrongway’ Lovarini (and John Taylor on 4 tracks) nailing the groove and leading the way.
Along to lend a hand are Mark Diamond (alto sax), Ralph P. White (trombone and trumpet), Don Hopkins (keys), Ron King (harp), and Jeff Cripps (drums, harmony vocals). And of course Jeff Cripps also recorded and mixed the album at his A# Studios.

The 14 tracks (plus a little extra – 14a?) are mainly penned by Ian (4) and John (7), with covers of Louis Jordan’s Boogie in the barnyard, the old Walkin’ the dog, and RM Blues by R. Milton (?). In typical, cryptic Bellhops fashion, John shares writing credits on The Sheik (of Bondi Beach) with Omah Gourd (who also handles lead vocals) !

‘l’here’s a nice balance of boogies, shuffles, swing, rock, jazz and bluesy ballads. Have I got the blues for you is a lovely swing number, RM Blues with Ron King on harp just shuffles along beautifully, and the intro to Rise and Shine is so swampy you almost get mosquito bites.

Don Hopkins on organ can be heard swirling away on the great slow ballad Taking my business elsewhere, and the more up tempo Judgement day. The Sheik (of Bondi Beach) is a real fun number where the Casbah meets the surf, complete with scratchy, old time vocals, and Curiosity is one of those numbers where dirty minds run wild but all is not as it at first seems – a real exercise in the SINGLE entendre!
Trouble again is a real jazzy outing with Ron on (chromatic?) harp, and …….. well, you get the picture.

This is a terrific CD. Buy it at a gig and use the money you save to buy a few drinks – you’ll have a great night out!

Gary deWall – Blues Times