Scene & Heard - CD Review
Review Taken From Issue 245 - November 2017


C D Review

Greggi G & His Crazy Gang: The Long Open Road
Trevor Noddles Thrapston, Northants

12 Tracks:
1. Modern Romance, 2. Drinking Wine, 3. Hey Mae, 4. Ubangi Stomp, 5. Little Sister, 6. Small Black Chevy, 7. Cry, Cry Over You, 8. Cherokee Boogie, 9. Down The Road, 10. Morse Code, 11. Snakeskin Cadillac, 12. Long Open Road.

The south coast based Greggi G needs no introduction as he's been playing slap bass on the Rock 'n' Roll circuit, for countless years, extensively in the UK and Europe. His pedigree is rather lengthy, having worked with a plethora of artistes, many who are still household names. Starting his Rock 'n' Roll career back in the 1970's I recall seeing Greggi and Boogie Boy H some considerable time ago in Cambridge at a friend's birthday celebration as part of the then Matchbox with Graham Fenton prior to the hit making line-up reforming. Over the years I've seen Geggi in various bands, more recently with his Crazy Gang. Besides Greggi (slap bass/lead vocals), the band comprise of Boogie Boy H, Greggi's brother (keyboard/piano accordion/support vocals), Mark 'Tex' Preston (lead guitar/support vocals) and driving the back beat, drummer Wayne Bronze.

This CD holds a poignant message; it's been compiled to support two charities as all proceeds are being donated to cancer research, and the British heart foundation. Let's hope the sales go through the roof, not only for the band but for the two worthy causes. Greggi informed me the CD was recorded totally live in a studio with just the band, no extras and no over dubs in two days. It was done and dusted, 'bish-bash-bosh' - just like they did back in the day!

The opener, 'Modern Romance' the 1958 song from Sandford Clark is a tune I'm unfamiliar with. I only knew two tracks by Sandford Clark, 'The Fool' and 'Lonesome For A Letter' so a fresh song to kick off the CD. Thanks to Greggi for confirming who the original artiste was. As detailed on the website there's a reference to the band playing music that started in the 40's, so no more adieu than the second song, 'Drinking Wine' a great choice originating in 1947 from Sticks McGhee, though famed by many country artistes including Jerry Lee Lewis. The third, 'Hey Mae' from Rusty & Doug Kershaw in the late 50's also covered in the early 80's by Shakin' Stevens, and possibly a few others and now by the Crazy Gang. Next, starting off with some fine guitar licks, 'Ubangi Stomp' with its origins from Warren Smith as a single, then by Jerry Lee Lewis on his first album. 'Little Sister', the flipside to Elvis RCA 45, 'Marie's The Name Of His Latest Flame'.

Possibly my favourite track that really stands out as a driving number, 'Small Black Chevy' written by Boogie Boy H, about a Chevrolet with a small engine block. Consider when bands perform their own work there's no yardstick to measure them with or other act to compare them to, especially as this isn't a typical Rock 'n' Roll 12 - bar refrain. A great rendition of the 1990's James Intveld song, 'Crying Over You'. One of my all-time favourite songs now laid down by the Crazy Gang, 'Cherokee Boogie' starts with Wayne striking the Indian beat on the tom-toms before the piano accordion and vocals come on stream. This song was recorded by some of Country music's greats including Johnny Horton, Hank Williams Snr, and Moon Mullican. 'Down The Road A-piece' originally from the Will Bradley Trio in the 40's yet covered by many from the 50's including the Rolling Stones in the 60's and now with fine keyboard work from H in the 21st century. 'Morse Code' is an exemplary Rockabilly track from Don Woody now given the Crazy Gang touch. The last two tracks, both originals penned by the keyboard man, Boogie Boy H, 'Snake Skin Cadillac' another driving song, and the title track of the CD, Long Open Road that opens up with some great Boogie-Woogie riffs and guitar lead breaks to finish the CD in style.

So to conclude the Rock 'n' Roll message, the CD contains a real infusion of Rockabilly, Country, Boogie-Woogie and self-penned tracks. The Long Open Road CD can be purchased from Greggi, by contacting him via e-mail, for the sum of 6 (including UK p&p). As this is so reasonable I'd recommend buying a few copies to support the band and the charities.

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