Classic rock n roll… Surely, everyone here knows what I am talking about when I say rock n roll. Whether you think about the Rolling Stones, Faces, Georgia Satellites, Dogs D’amour, Quireboys, Electric Angels, Rock City Angels, Black Crowes, Low Cut Connie, etc., we are talking about the kind of music that pumps through my veins and nourishes my soul. Spencer & the Elegant Blackouts released a great four song EP back in 2018 and have returned with another four song EP that picks up where they left off- delivering vintage high quality rock n roll.

As you many have guessed from the introduction, these guys are not chasing trends or trying to reinvent the wheel with their music. Their focus is on getting your fists in the air and your body moving which should not be an issue.  ‘Ain’t Never Drinking Again’ opens with the sound of a bottle opening and some old rag time piano in the background before the electric guitar riff arrives to get the party started. If you turn this up really loud, you will feel like you are in your favorite dive bar with the smell of alcohol and perfume in the air. Timeless vintage rock n roll designed to put a smile on your face. Their single from last year ‘Just Another Heartache’ follows and actually sounds better in the context of the EP. The production suffers a bit in the pre-chorus where it doesn’t quite connect sonically. The song is solid and features a solid hook that I really want to hear live where these songs will no doubt shine ever brighter. I really love the guitar work throughout this song.

Next up, ‘Nuthin But Everything’ comes rocking out of the speakers and musically reminds me a bit of Izzy Stadlin. The chorus here is more subdued which works as the singalong becomes a grower, and the guitar solo becomes a huge hook first. Again, if you want a glossy sheen, this is not the place for you as these songs are covered in grit. Closer ‘Me or the Bottle’ is carried by piano and embodies the classic closer where people in the crowd all sing along to the chorus at the end of the night before everyone crawls back home to face the responsibilities and duties of the morning sun. Shout out to the players in the band: Spencer Willhouse whiskey grit and smokey guitar, Eric Mauro- Howlin Hammond and Pinetop Rattlin, Sean Flynn- Big Bends and Sinister Slide, Chris Herninko- Bass thumpin and camel blues, and JoJo Buerklin- Twig twirlin and skins.

Spencer and the Elegant Angels have delivered another really highly enjoyable EP that pairs perfectly with their first release. If you like any of my reference points, I highly suggest you give this a spin, play, stream or whatever the case might be. Let’s make 2021 a year for rock n roll, and hopefully these guys can find a way to play some live dates at some point. In the meantime, I will be here singing along and bouncing around home.

‘The Party Never Ends’ is out now

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Author: Gerald Stansbury

Many great albums drift away to never be heard or forgotten by the vast majority of people, while a handful of us cherish those albums and hold them close, lamenting the fact that those bands are gone and will not be gracing us with more magic. Back in the 90’s, the Dogtown Balladeers released an album and a couple of incredible CD singles (remember those?) that have constantly remained in my rotation throughout the years. I have made it a point to continue to tell people about the band and how great their music was. Now, everyone gets a second chance to latch onto some pure rock n roll that brings to mind the sounds of the Rolling Stones, the Dogs D’amour, the New York Dolls, and others through this new EP by Spencer and the Elegant Blackouts. Spencer Willhouse was one of the original guitar players in the Dogtown Balladeers, and this EP finds him exploring the same vintage sounds that the Balladeers did all those years ago. Simply put, this is essential for those of us who love classic rock n roll.

These songs were made for the live setting where the music fuses with the soul and works its magic on each person. Time stops moving as these songs take us to another place where we sing at the top of our lungs, the dream of being in a band, and remember when rock n roll was king. A ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ gets ‘Childs Eyes’ started with some rollicking piano and a Stones riff leads us into a verse where Willhouse’s voice greets us like an old friend in a rough and ready fashion. Up next is a cover of ‘The Worst’ by the Rolling Stones which was originally on their ‘Voodoo Lounge’ record so not one of the standard covers that many bands do. Here, the Elegant Blackouts give it much more of a rock spin where I remember the original was more of a ballad. Ironically, this is the song I like the least here, but I do love the piano work by Eric Mauro and think the song works very well within the context of the EP. I should emphasize that I still really enjoy the song, but the others I enjoy that much more.

‘The Next Time’ begins with some acoustic picking before becoming an up-tempo rocker with a great hook. This is currently my favourite on the record with the lead into the chorus being done perfectly. Mark Melchiorre (Silvertide) provides some excellent guitar work here and on the following song ‘Plastic Roses,’ which closes the EP in fine style. This is a classic rock n roll song that gets the body moving and finds Kevin Frank (Silvertide) laying down the perfect beat on the drums. The spoken word vocal before the final run of the chorus is perfectly placed and simply divine.

I hope it goes without saying that if you like any of the bands I have referenced that you owe it to your soul to check this EP out and spin it about 10 straight times. This is timeless vintage rock n roll distilled from the finest spirits; let’s not let it disappear into obscurity. Hopefully, this is just a sample of more to come from the band.

‘Hangovers and Hangers On’ is available now on digital outlets and available on hard copy from the band via email



Author: Gerald Stansbury