Submitted by: kitti
Publication date - 15 March 2008
The brand new debut CD of Rockin' Henri is finally released at Swiss Label TCY Records. It contains 29 (!) songs and 26 of them are written by Henri himself. The cover songs are “Santa’s Got Your Letter” (composed by Bob Burgos) and “The Night Comes To an End” (by Rene Shuman and Angle-Eye), and finally an instrumental of Bob Burgos. Now, I would like to make small introduction and present you Rockin’ Henri. Shake your hands with singer, songwriter, guitar player, radio DJ (used to be, unfortunately not any more), author of some articles and reviews for the Dutch rock’n’roll magazine “Boppin’ Around” and just one of the most enthusiastic and vigorous person I had ever chance to meet.
The preparation of CD itself took long time before it was finally released. The songs were recorded at two different studios and with different musicians, but all of them are focused on lyrics about life, problems and relationships. The name of CD “It’s Sociabillywoprock Time” shows very clearly that this recording is about combination of social themed lyrics with pseudo doo-wop (without the vocal group format) and rock’n’roll music.
The first 14 songs plus “Being Healthy Is A Privilege” were backed up by the Letzebillies (a band from Luxembourg/Germany), the others - by the Rock-A-Tones (rockabilly band from Berlin, Germany). The first half (except the “That Picture”) is in neo-rockabilly style, where you can hear influence of early 80's artists/bands like, for example, Shakin' Stevens (pay attention while listening to “You're Hard Working Woman”)… First impression is, well, too noisy for me! Certainly not my favorite sound.
After a doo-wop-ish love song, you will hear nice a-capella “Why Do You Hurt The One You Love?” and then starts the best (in my opinion) part of this CD. Authentic rockabilly tunes are recognizable from the first notes. My special respect for Rock-a-Tones! The musicians are amazingly good at playing rockabilly as well as doo-wop stuff! A very good clear sound! The Vocal is OK - Henri calls his “vibrating” voice his trademark, which I don’t really approve. As for me, I like the performance of “I Got A Girl Named Gretsch” (dedicated to Henri’s Gretch guitar) the most, where he uses his own voice and I think this vocal sounds better than the other songs. It's simple and more rockin’. Well, looking back, not everybody in the rockabilly scene had wonderful and flexible voices, but the way of “playing” with it could make the rock’n’roll songs perfect! But right, Henri has been really singing (including rehearsing) for just a bit over one year now, so, I am sure, the right “thing” will come.
I won't describe every song - each one has it's own special theme and inspiration (the whole description as well as all lyrics can be found in the booklet) and that would take lots of time to do. So what else I would certainly to add is that the compositions are in three languages: English, German and Dutch, so it also gives some variety and also makes CD something special.
The last track is unreleased composition of Bob Burgos (in addition you also will find his liner notes about Rockin’ Henri’s music) - the legendary drummer who used to play with Shotgun, Matchbox, the Rapiers and many others, and he also accompanied 50’s stars such as Charlie Gracie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Janis Martin, etc. Rockin’ Henri describes mister Burgos as a rebel who has the same approach to rock’n’roll music (simple and powerful) like Henri himself. That was the main reason to include this instrumental on the CD.
Finally, I must say some words about booklet - or better to say songbook with detailed instructions. It has introduction; preparation thoughts for the recording session, so you can follow the whole process; some sentences about Henri’s songwriting; information about bands, studios, producers and equipment; rock’n’roll puzzle; song adviser about what songs to choose for any particular moods and surely, the lyrics with remarks, line ups and inspiration ideas. Very exciting!
Well, it was a good effort, so keep on rockin’ and rollin’, Henri! And as for readers, I hope you will like that nice combination of stories and rockin’ music styles and also share your own opinion with us!