The Royal Crowns – Volume Three

Posted by Christie On October - 7 - 20123,244 views

It started with Teddy and Danny. Toronto 1986…”


So reads the band’s biography on their website – one might want to commit that sentence to memory because, it seems to me, that it was

The Royal Crowns

an historic moment for Rockabilly. The aforementioned Teddy, is, in fact, drummer/vocalist Teddy Fury and makes up one third of The Royal Crowns, also mentioned above was Mr Danny Bartley, the swift-picking guitarist with the trio. Add bass-player Jason Adams into the mix and what you have is a wonderful little group that packs the punch of your average five piece. It’s very rare to hear a trio with such a full, rich sound covering such a wide range of classic styles, but The Royal Crowns do it, and they’re back and better than ever with their album “Volume Three”.


As a whole V3 seems to be the sum of its’ parts, predominantly Rockabilly and Surf with healthy lashings of straight-up Rock & Roll thrown into the mix, however, individually, each song seems to work on it’s own fundamental level, and to this reviewer, that’s often what makes an good album great.


The opening track, titled “You Sure Know What You’re Doin’”, holds absolutely no punches whatsoever and sets the tone for album as pure, unadulterated rockabilly fun. You’ll be stomping your feet to the rhythm of the thing while the catchy, retro-vibe lyric will get into your head and refuse to leave you alone, “You sure know what you’re doin’/ Goodness gracious, golly gee, you sure know what you’re doin’/ When you’re doin’ it with me.” – priceless.


Moving onto track two “She’s Got It And I Want It”, the beats remain strong and consistent thanks to Fury and Adams’ combined efforts. When met with Bartley’s guitar licks and you’re onto a winner. This song is slower, yet no less catchy and instantly put me in mind of a more mature Bill Hailey mixed with a generous dollop of Eddie Cochran, that isn’t to say that this group can easily be compared to acts already around, while their sound is unmistakably rock and roll/rockabilly, to paraphrase the King, they “don’t sound like nobody.”


The next stand out moment for me has got to be “Butterball Baby”, my favourite track of the album and featuring a smoother, all round jazzier feel. A track so laid back and self assured that it comes across as sounding so easy and effortless that it truly is a treat to hear the band playing with such a louche sense of purpose. This is rockabilly at it’s most refined, yet it still manages to remain true to the roots music that inspired it. It oozes a calm, drawling charm that makes it sound as though it wouldn’t be out of place if heard on Beale Street, or while strolling along the banks of the Mississippi river.


If you’re a fan of classic 60’s surf music, however, you might feel more comfortable with “Heavy Baby”. A nice breath of fresh air, this number comes breezing in and instantly transports the listener to sunnier climbs, (“Surfin’ Californ-I-A”, perhaps?), a toe-tapping delight in terms of all instrumentation and the final mix is one of the most masterfully balanced of the entire album giving each band member a fair shake at letting us hear what they can do. A simplistic structure and lyrical topic makes for some easy listening while retaining a lot of the driving force and enjoyment of other , more original tracks, such as the previously mentioned, “You Sure Know What You’re Doin’”.


While I’ve not given you a run down of each track, (I don’t want to spoil the fun!), these are just a few of my favourites. I’d like to finish with the last track on the album, “Johnny’s Sister”. This tune makes for an interesting listen, fusing elements of fifties and modern music this feels as at home today as it would have done in the era that spawned rock and roll! A fitting end to the album featuring some nice steady drum work which could’ve been built upon but is a minor niggle, again the bass keeps you tapping your toe and Bartley’s guitar work here is utterly masterful.


From the off, V3 promises to be a great listener that’ll be a firm favourite for purists and more modern fans alike. Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means perfect but what it lacks in some areas it more than makes up for with heart, guts and talent. This was an absolute joy to listen to and I can’t wait to hear it again. In fact, I think I’ll put it on right now…


Volume Three by The Royal Crowns is out now.

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