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CD REVIEW: Dance Hall Pimps - Beast for Love (2012)

By: Cyrus Rhodes


"spooky grooves"







Artist: Dance Hall Pimps
Album: Beast of Love
Label: Lakeshore Records
Website: www.dancehallpimps.com

Genre: Rockabilly, Swamp Rock, R&B

Sounds Like: Stray Cats, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Blues Brothers, Asbury Jukes
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Mommy was a Zombie, Underneath your Stone, Beast for Love

Weakness: Mixing and Mastering, Winded Songs




Los Angeles based Dance Hall Pimps release their latest release in 2012. This 6 piece band delivers a unique, high octane haunted swamp rock vibe. Band members consist of R.J. Comer (Lead Vocals, Plectrum Banjo, Guitar, Jeff Jourara (Lead Guitar), Bruce Mann (Keyboard, Trumpet) Eddie Fish (Bass, Vocals) Vic “Baron” Migenes (Drums) and Steve Carr (Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet)  

The CD kicks things off with “Seems Holy” a perfect intro piece that serves up classic Americana rock groove that dishes out slamming Saxophone chops, driving rock rhythm and compelling vocal melodies from lyrics RJ. Cooner and company. Track 2 “Underneath Your Stone” shifts gears with its slamming rock rhythm, impressive solo guitar accents and impressive vocal melody from RJ Comer. Track 3 keeps things moving in the right direction with “Mommy Was a Zombie” a piano driven melody with passionate vocals from Reilly that peaks & valleys its way through emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression and really never backs down track to track. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Stray Cats, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Asbury Jukes, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and just a dash of Blues Brothers.  The music itself is an amazing blend of Psychedelic Rock and classic Saloon R&B with a obvious Swamp Rock, Psychobilly aftertaste. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive. The accordion solo guitar accents are well placed. The rhythm groove (Bass & Drums) is thick as a brick. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice impressive solo guitar licks, impressive Trumpet, Saxophone, Hammond Organ Chops, Piano, Banjo. But the most impressive thing about Love Potions & Snake Oil is the impressive songwriting & vocal persona from R.J. Cooner. From rocking  Heartbreak of Dawn”  to spooky “Transylvania Girls” to slamming “Wrong Guy Baby” to rocking “I’m no Price Charming” and the title track, to thought provoking “In the Back of my Mind” to slow moving “You’d Drink Like I Do Too” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12: "Take a walk on the Wild Side" the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber. 

There is something odd going on within the confines of the mix. Closing in on the liner notes it's generally never a good idea to have the Recording Engineer, Mixing Engineer and Mastering Engineer be the same individual. I see Independent Artists make this mistake time and time again. This is typically never a good idea and typically a big NO NO in the Industry. Why? Well for one – this individual already knows where all the dead bodies are buried headed so out goes any checks and balances with respect to post production. Second - the more professionals you have assigned to your production the better perspective you can get. As a producer I highly recommend having each phase of the production process (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) handled by a separate musical professional altogether. At the end of the day it can be more strokes on the canvass. Trust me when I say you won't regret the impact 3 or 4 sets of ears will have on your overall sound and production value. As a result the CD has a lack luster production quality, and just lacks continuity track to track when compared to other professional CD’s within the genera. Given the talent of this amazing band, skope of the songwriting, amazing performances, it's a bit unfortunate. If it was 1989 this would be a cutting edge production, unfortunately it’s 2012 so the bar is set high for artists like “Dance Hall Pimps.” All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. 

The latest CD from Dance Hall Pimps is a solid and highly entertaining CD from start to finish. Its strength – the raw song for song intensity that keeps coming at you.  No doubt these guys are a total riot to check out live. The music is dirty, but rock solid, heavy and consistent. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD packs a powerful punch and goes the full 12 rounds with no sign of letting up.


Cyrus Rhodes

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