The Lustre Kings

That's Showbiz

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Some might mistake upstate New York's Lustre Kings for purely a rockabilly revivalist band -- and they certainly do play a good dose of rockabilly -- but their brand of classicist rock & roll is more broad-ranging than a lot of purist rockabilly revival acts. Regardless of tags, the group certainly is well appointed: no less than legendary rockabilly/country queen Wanda Jackson handpicked them to be her band in 2004, right around the release date of That's Showbiz. This, their third album, features a guest turn from Bill Kirchen (on David Bromberg's "Danger Man"), as well as two takes on Henry Mancini's "The Livin End," a stripped-down rocker and big-band version. The musicianship throughout is top-notch, with guitar wunderkind Graham Tichy (son of Commander Cody's John Tichy) bolstering leader Mark Gamsjager's silvertones. This is just a good-time rock & roll record that swings and jumps. The Lustre Kings aren't trying to reinvent the wheel but have mastered their danceable, American roots music idiom. More Brian Setzer than Sun Studios, the group particularly shines on the stripped-down take of "The Livin End," the Tex Rubinowitz weeper "No One Left to Turn To," Buddy Holly's "Little Baby," and the title track. The band has frequently had guests like los Straitjackets' Eddie Angel and Commander Cody alum John Tichy sit in with them live, and it's clear, from That's Showbiz, why the group is a magnet for such strong players -- the Lustre Kings are a rock-solid, good-time rock & roll band. Professor Louie, the longtime associate of Rick Danko and Garth Hudson and producer of the Band's '90s albums, helps Gamsjager out with production.

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