Anyone who ever clocked Alan Merrill's vocals with glam rock geniuses The Arrows back in the mid-1970s, and thought they detected a hint of American R&B lounging around the edges, probably wrote it off as a trick of the light. Certainly, they could never have expected Merrill to follow through (eventually) with this, a 23-song tribute album to Arthur Alexander and Otis Blackwell, recorded with ex-Yankees frontman Jon Tiven, and dropping so neatly into the very heart of the songs that one wonders precisely what else Merrill has tucked away in his quiver.
First and foremost, Double Shot Rocks' closest living relative is Denny Laine's Wings-powered tribute to Buddy Holly, Holly Days. There's the same sense of simply rolling through the songs for fun, of relaxing into the words and rhythms, and of caring less for slickness and studio trickery than for the sheer joy of singing and playing such great songs.
The most ignorant neophyte on earth, after all, will recognize most of them, from old Rolling Stones and Beatles albums, from sundry classic soul compilations, from simply tuning in to oldies radio and letting the memories wash over them. And that is precisely the effect that Double Shot Rocks has -- a summery breeze, a drifting daydream, an hour spent in the company of some of the most soulful, romantic and beautiful songs ever written; all delivered with such gentle honesty (and, occasionally, corking guitars) that, the moment it's over, you'll want to hear it all over again.