The Roadrunners

The Roadrunners

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The nine songs on this album (which apparently also came out under the title Twist Time in the Star-Club, though there's nothing that sounds especially like twist music here) were supposedly recorded in the Star-Club in Hamburg at about three o'clock in the morning, after an actual gig elsewhere but with no audience present. The band reportedly so disliked their performance that they wanted to cut the whole set again, only to discover that the engineer had left with the tape. Their objections were premature -- the nine songs here are a lean, hard-rocking set comprised of blues ("Baby, You Don't Have to Go," "That's Alright," "Hoochie Coochie Man"), rock & roll standards ("Slow Down," "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up"), and R&B ("You Can Make It if You Try"), all of which is done exceptionally well, without any of the restraint that usually afflicted English bands performing this sort of repertory. The instruments might've been miked closer or turned up louder, but those are all minor complaints, given that this set is so bracing and exciting. It concludes with a stunning six-minute plus workout on "Hoochie Coochie Man" which was worth the original price of the LP by itself. Of course, the original LP is about as rare as hens' teeth, even in Germany, but Bear Family's 1999 box set Die Ariola Star-Club Aufnahmen includes the entire album as part of its fourth CD, in excellent stereo sound (though one suspects the mono master might've had more punch). Not only does Mike Hart's extraordinary vocal (and guitar) talent get a good showcase, but so does John Peacock's nimble work on the ivories, and Dave Boyce's drumming.

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