Wild Wax Combo

Jungle Fever

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Since musicians first took their stand-up basses out for a walk back in the '50s, rockabilly has never really gone out of fashion, revived time and again across the generations and around the world. As enduring as the style is, so is its universal appeal, setting the locals rocking round the far-flung world. Denmark's Wild Wax Combo are just the latest in a long line of foreign bands that have made rockabilly their own, with an enthusiasm that's palpable across Jungle Fever, the band's 1999 debut set. In later years, the trio would pen their own songs, but they hadn't reached that point here, contributing only one self-penned track and an arrangement to this 17-song set. Cover heavy the album may be, but the songs are well chosen, and run the gambit from Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" to a pair of Carl Perkins numbers, and on to such classics as "Lonesome Train" and Sonny Burgess' "Red Headed Woman." The latter song features a swaggering sax by Jesper Agerskov, whose exhilarating solos also electrify "Shadow My Baby" and "Teenager's Mothers," while pianist Andy Mcghie barrels in brilliant R&B style across "Hide'n Seek." But the rest of the set is given over to the Combo's own drums, stand-up bass, and guitar, with the trio running rampant across the past. The musicianship is flawless, the band tight, the production clean, and the energy unflagging. Considering the pace, there's not much room for showmanship, bar the middle break, of course, but guitarist Paolo Molinari still finds space to strut his best stuff, while bassist Rene Karlsson and Mikael Findannis' tight rhythms storm across the grooves. The talent is obvious and one can only look forward to what's to come from this exciting group.

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