Thursday, October 24, 2013

EP Album Review: "Cowgirls" by The Merry Rounders- "One Hell of a Gem"




































Imagine coming across an old box of weathered Albums and 45's circa 1952 to 57 in a vacant lot in Lubbock Texas. Perusing through the records, some as warped as a roller coaster, you find one that is straight as an arrow. The cover says "The Merry Rounders" and has psychedelic cowboys and cowgirls who have gold sprinkled stars for eyes. It beckons to be played. You find your way to your friend Rusty's house because he has vintage 1959 Sears and Roebuck Silvertone portable record player that also beckons to be played. As the needle drops down on "The Merry Rounder's" first track it wobbles as drunkenly as the western guitar lines on How I Knew. The song has a solid groove with a shimmy shake groove that would make Buddy Holly smile, a country meets Motown walking bass line, and slightly canned vocals with a tiny twinge of  Brooks Nielsen. As the first track fades out into nothingness and you contemplate were you are standing (The Merry Rounders can transport you somewhere else) Cory Kaiser's voice cloistered in sad organ strains sings, "There's no more shaking in my bones so finally I can sit still" in My Will. This love song is a trippy affair. With it's almost slowed down "Help Me Rhonda" cadence it is as much as a dirty gospel song as a 1960 Surf pop tear jerker.

Man of My Dreams is dreamy as can be covered in a syrupy sock hop punk vibe. The backing girl vox with the swirling organs is steeped in Shirellean cool. The guitar lead work is so much fun and pretty brilliant really. Release Me blends country western and 50's style rhythm and blues. The vocal mix defers to the almost Chuck Berry-ish chunky guitar rhythm but sounds live and lush. The last track Woman I Can Love wears go go boots with  flourishes of 60's psychedelia and a Ray Manzarek-ish organ vibe. It also cooks along with a mysterious vibe like Eddie Cochran meets the Growlers.

As the needle stutter steps on the last groove, Rusty sits smoking a joint as a tear streams down his face. The Merry Rounders album is actually not currently on vinyl, it is on high bias Cassette tape and available on Bandcamp. I don't reside in Lubbock Texas and don't have a friend named Rusty, it's just that this newly discovered EP entitled "Cowgirls" (by the way) entertains so fully as to whisk yourself away to another place. These songs recorded on a Yamaha MT-400 cassette recorder feel wonderfully organic like they were recorded live with a few microphone hanging from the rafters. I want very much to hear these songs live played in a backyard or in a crowded house. One hell of a gem to come my way on a chilly Thursday evening... yeah, one hell of a gem.
-
Robb Donker

Cowgirls by the Merry Rounders
released 13 October 2013
Corey Kaiser - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Alejandro Pareja - Electric Guitar and Background Vocals
Jason Kaiser - Drums, Percussion, and Background Vocals
Carson Cody - Pump Organ, Rhodes, and Farfisa
Ryan Bartholemy - Bass and Background Vocals
Elizabeth Messick Fernandez - Vocals on "My Will" and "Release Me"
Keila Morris - Vocals on "My Will" and "Release Me"
Katie Chappel - Vocals on "How I Knew"
Alyssandra Nighswonger - Vocals on "How I Knew"
Meagan Isbell - Vocals on "Man of My Dreams"

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