In the wake of Brian Setzer, most rockabilly and roots-rock acts moved toward jump blues, as evidenced by Ace & the Ragers' debut album Light This Sucker Up. This is pretty much straight-ahead retro-rock, recalling R&B and rock & roll from the late '50s, particularly Bill Haley, who patterned himself after the jump-blues of Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris and Joe Liggins. Ace & the Ragers are adament about keeping it real, to keep the original flame of rock & roll burning, and it has to be said that they come fairly close to their goal, for better and for worse. They actually come closer to sounding like '50s rock & roll than any of their peers, and the basic, inexpensive production only enhances that feeling. Also, the group rocks pretty well, swinging hard throughout the record. However, Ace tends to shout and bellow instead of sing, and their songs are hit-and-miss. These things are easy to excuse on a debut record, but it makes the record sound more promising than realized. It walso makes them sound like a hell of a good live band -- after finishing Light This Sucker Up, you don't necessarily feel like playing it again, but you do feel like going to see them at a club, which is very good for a debut album.
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