Monday, June 06, 2011

Blast from the Past: The Amazing Royal Crowns

Title:  The Amazing Royal Crowns (Amazon, CD Universe, AllMusic)
Artist:  The Amazing Royal Crowns (MySpace, Facebook, Last.fm, AllMusic, Yahoo Music, Wikipedia)

The Amazing Royal Crowns and their 1997 self-titled debut album single-handedly ruined rockabilly for me.  I have yet to hear any artist or band in the rockabilly or psychobilly genres that can hold a candle to the energy and intensity of The Amazing Royal Crowns.  Even the Crowns themselves couldn’t keep up this level of boot stompin’ excitement on their follow-up Royal (my friend Danny blamed this on the fact that the band changed guitar players, which is probably true, but I think that after losing the ridiculous lawsuit brought by The Royal Crown Revue that forced the band to change their name to The Amazing Crowns probably also had something to do with it too). 

Lyrically the album is what you’d expect from any good rockabilly group – girls, cars, boot stompin’, the Devil, and a tribute to Johnny Cash (“Rollercoaster”).  The best moments on the record are “1965 G.T.O.,” “Rollercoaster,” “Wreckin’ Machine,” “Minute With The Maker,” and “Scene of the Crime” but honestly there’s not a bad moment on this CD.  In fact top to bottom this is one of the best CDs of the late ‘90s and one of the most intense albums ever recorded.  This intensity comes from the fact that it was recorded in two days with no overdubs.  That is impressive. 

Now one would probably assume that an ass kickin’ rockabilly band like The Amazing Royal Crowns would hail from somewhere like Memphis, TN.  Well you’d assume wrong.  This powerhouse came from Providence, RI.  Sadly the band only released two full-length albums and one live record before calling it a day in 2001.  For me, the Crowns’ debut will be the bar against which all rockabilly and psychobilly bands will be judged.  So far, no one can compare.  Not The Reverend Horton Heat, not The Stray Cats, not even the classic rockabilly of the 1950s.  This is the greatest album that this genre has ever produced.           

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