Posts Tagged ‘Allman Brothers’

12734114_1060998633943869_6597136730120748825_nThis album has been on pretty heavy rotation with me over the past 2 or 3 years. It’s’ a phenomenal rock record, made by an Italian band who are heavily influenced by Southern rock giants such as Skynyrd, Allmans, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and the like. Columbus Way stacks up close to records by many of those bands, such is the authenticity of the Smokey Fingers sound. I suppose contemporary comparisons would be bands like Blackberry Smoke or Drive-By Truckers. The fact that you have a bunch of guys from Italy peddling a sound that originated in places like Florida just shows how far-reaching the influence of southern rock has been. But don’t think that these guys peddle a half arsed southern rock sound with dodgy sounding vocals. Nope. As I mentioned, they have an authentic sound, sounding like they come from out of Georgia in the mid ‘70s, not from Italy’s historic northern parts. I could wax lyrical about this album till the cows come home, yet I found a pretty accurate review of it on The Ring Master website which captures the essence of my thoughts fairly accurately. Ring Master says, “With a sound steeped in the southern rock inspirations of the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers, Italian rock band Smokey Fingers release their debut album Columbus Way on Tanzan Music. Fusing hard rock, blues and country to their southern base sound the quartet from Lodi have brought a fresh and invigorating feel to their music, creating songs that do not hide their open influence but instead excel in its spirit and glory whilst bringing it into a modern arena. Smokey Fingers began officially in 2008 when drummer Daniele Vacchini and guitarist Diego “Blef” Dragoni teamed up with old friends in vocalist Luca Paterniti and bassist Fabrizio Costa, the various members having played with another in such bands as Smell Of Dog, Dixie Line and in the Double Trouble Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute band. Together they began working on new songs as well as revisiting and developing tracks and melodies from songs written as far back as 2006. What evolved was a flavour of southern rock in the distinct style and touch of Smokey Fingers and a self produced EP Smokey Fingers in 2009 that first brought them a strong attention. Now with Columbus Way and its solid and creative sounds the thought that Smokey Fingers will wake up an unsuspecting world to their music is rife and really there is no reason why it should not be so. The album consists of twelve tracks that ooze class and vibrancy, with stirring guitars, firm and engaging riffs, and playful smart melodies and harmonies. There is strength across the whole release that not only eagerly grabs attention but satisfies and pleasures. There is also in many ways something for everyone, even those who head for the heavier assaulting riffs and intense attacks. Smokey Fingers brings rock ‘n’ roll to trigger anyone’s inner rhythm. The album opens with ‘Old Jack’, a get down and get dirty track that plays easily upon the ear. With a catchy chorus, a great resonating bass, and scorching guitars the song sets the scene for the band’s sound and the album to come, lively and fun it is the perfect lead into the release. Immediately second track ‘The Lover’ comes in with confirmation of what one first noticed in the opener that Costa is a classy and accomplished bassist. For the second time and not the last on the album, his bass resonates and throbs to give the song an organic feel, a pulse that brings the track even more alive. The other notable thing is how American the band comes over, the expectation was of a sound, certainly vocally, tinged with an Italian flavour but far from it. It also does not feel wrong either, usually one complains of a European band trying to sound American but here it is so natural and easy the thought does not arise. Across the album produced by Mario Percudani (Hungry Heart), there is a good variety and a very strong consistency with tracks such as the skilful ‘Chains Of Mind’, the emotive grace of ‘Ride Of Love’, and the album’s best track ‘Die For The Glory’ complete with another addictive bassline and stunning creativity, all reinforcing what an extremely well written and performed collection of songs this is. The guitars of Dragoni as everywhere lay down mesmeric patterns with his play and the beats of Vacchini keep everything controlled and neatly paced. Vocally Paterniti is spot on; there are no negatives to send his way even if he sounds more American than should be possible. Combined the band bring America and “the sunny and dusty roads of Alabama!” to the ear but in their own stylised way. Columbus Way is an essential listen for all Southern and hard rock fans, but anyone who enjoys great melodic rock ‘n’ roll should take a listen. Smokey Fingers has one tasty release for all rock fans to feast upon. (This review courtesy of Ringmaster 2011). I’m not sure what the band have been up to of late, but if they never made another album, Columbus Way is one hell of a trophy. Check out some of the bands tunes on Youtube and then buy this. You wont be disappointed.


When asked who are the best exponents of the genre that is now known as ‘Southern Rock’, most pundits will come out with Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, and also equally siginifcant bands like Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and The Outlaws. Yet one band who deserves to also be up there is Doc Holliday. As Michael B. Smith for writes, “One of the hardest working bands in the lexicon of Southern Rock was and is Doc Holliday. Oddly, Doc tends to be repeatedly overlooked by authors and writers chronicling the history of the genre. Fact is, they are just as deserving-more so in some cases-of inclusion as their fellow brothers of the road. Sporting an impressive catalog of recordings on A&M Records and a legacy that continues to evolve even today, Doc Holliday still creates tight, funky Southern Rock music.” Doc Holliday hail from Macon, Georgia where Southern rock began with the legendary Allman Brothers Band. Doc Holliday signed to A&M Records in 1980. In 1981 their debut album DOC HOLLIDAY entered the Billboard Rock LPs chart in the top 30. The band then began to receive the attention of the European music press and the second album DOC HOLLIDAY RIDES AGAIN was released at the end of 1981 to critical acclaim. It contains the Southern rock classic ‘Lonesome Guitar’, a song in the tradition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’. In the early days, the band played close to 200 shows a year with Black Sabbath, Molly Hatchet, Charlie Daniels, Gregg Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blackfoot, April Wine, Loverboy, Pat Travers, Dixie Dregs, Nantucket, Johnny Van Zant, Point Blank and more. They played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Santa Monica Civic Center in Los Angeles, and in most major cities in between. In 1983 the band released their third album MODERN MEDICINE. It was an experiment, mixing the techno sounds of the 80’s with Southern rock, and was a complete failure. The pace of touring and lack of acceptance for their third effort, coupled with the explosion of New Wave music, contributed to the band’s breakup in 1984. After some time off, the group was reformed for the 1986 European release DANGER ZONE, on the Metal Masters label. In 1989 they released their fifth album SONG FOR THE OUTLAW-LIVE, followed by the band’s first major tour of Europe playing in Scandinavia, the U.K., Switzerland, and Germany. During the 90’s, the group toured Europe regularly, doing outdoor festivals, concerts and clubs. The next album SON OF THE MORNING STAR came out on a German label in 1993. During this time the band played shows with Blackfoot, U.F.O., Quiet Riot, Nazareth, Foghat, and others. By 1996 when the CD LEGACY was released, it seemed like the group’s touring days were winding down. Unexpectedly, a jolt of new energy came in 1999 when A&M re-issued the band’s first three LPs on compact disc, so touring Europe was on again. Doc Holliday started the year 2000 in style with a show in Berlin, a part of the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world, with an estimated 2.5 million people in attendance. In the spring of 2000, the band was voted into the ‘Southern Rock Hall Of Fame’.  In 2001 Halycon Music in Germany reissued the LP’s DANGER ZONE and SONG FOR THE OUTLAW-LIVE. At the end of 2001, Halycon released a new album called A BETTER ROAD, again to wide critical acclaim. The 2002 Summer A Better Road European Tour included dates in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden.  In the summer of 2003, Phoenix Records in Germany released a compilation called GUNFIGHTER-The Best Of The 90’s, and in the fall the band released it’s 10th album, GOOD TIME MUSIC on Phoenix. The group toured Europe in November 2003 and July 2004 in support of that album. In 2006 Phoenix Records released REBEL SOULS, a collection of cover songs from diverse sources like The Beatles, The Marshall Tucker Band and Bad Company that were chosen to reveal some of the band’s musical influences.  The 25th Anniversary Tour of Europe in the summer of 2006 saw Doc Holliday performing for fans from Scandinavia, U.K., Belgium, France and Germany. Over 100 live tracks were recorded during that tour and the resulting CD titled 25 ABSOLUTELY LIVE came out on Phoenix in 2008. “What the audience heard is what you get on this CD,” said Bruce Brookshire. “The band didn’t do any overdubs at all. Phoenix Records did an excellent job putting everything together.” 2011 marks the 30th Anniversary of Doc Holliday. Here is the video for ‘Lonesome Guitar’. Head to the bands web site here for more info and to pick up their stuff.