CD Stock Number: Catbug Records
"Pssst, hey kid, wanna hear some real music?" asked Greg Hopkins, co-author of the most excellent book Ampeg, The Story Behind The Sound. He pressed a CD into my tired and most likely perspiring hands at the recent spring Dallas guitar show. "It's by my band. Even my mother-in-law likes it." Given that sort of an introduction I HAD to give it a listen.
Well, boy howdy, mother-in-laws can be right, occasionally. The Melroys make fine music. They call their sound "Beatlebilly". While perilously close to country, it has a 60's pop kick. Randy Leiner, who sings lead and plays both lead and rhythm guitar wrote all the material except for one Billy Swan song. Denny DeVette contributes harmony vocals as well as lead and rhythm guitar, Mike Enderle handles drums and percussion, and the indomitable Gregg Hokins plays bass guitar. Guest artists include Scottt Blackwell on piano, Dace Farver on tenor sax, John Horton on electric and slide lap steel, and Sally Leiner on bongos (rock and roll needs bongos).
From the opening muted guitar riff on "I Don't Care (What They Say)" The Melroys grabs you by the ears and won't let go. Randy Leiner has a perfect rock and roll voice that commands your attention with gruff yet mellifluous authority. Chock full of more hooks and bridges than an erector set, The Melroys moves from one catchy tune to another. "Walk On" with its nasty sweet slinky blues line and "Laverne," a hardcore rockabilly number that kicks, tie as my favorites on the disc.
The Melroys' CD features first-rate packaging. No generic disc in a plain cardboard slipcase for these guys. The cover features a neat photograph of an art deco sign "The Melroys" while the disc itself is mocked up to resemble a 45 rpm disk (you do remember those don't you?). Sound quality is decent, but not awe-inspiring. Everything is clear and clean but dynamics, especially on the drums, are somewhat compressed, much like you hear on many late '60's recordings. Still, once you crank this disc up to boogieing level the dynamic compression won't be a bother. You'll be too busy gyrating to care.