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Mark Lee Allen

Locked Down (10-inch vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This set is unusual for Bear Family. It looks like the typical old-school release for which they are famous. The thing is, Mark Lee Allen is a contemporary artist plying his craft in old-school sounds. He is very much a “primitive rockabilly” musician, a moniker that is seen on the cover of the record. This is an entertaining set that could easily pass as an artifact of the past.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Side 1:
                             
Lonely Lonely Train

Appropriately the sound of a train is heard at the start of this. The tune has a real down-home groove and we get more train sounds later. This is a classy slab of rockabilly.

Don't Be Unfair
I really love the guitar jamming on this tune. It’s a cool old-school rock and roller that’s just loaded with class and charm.
Pick'em Up And Shake'em Up
The vocals on this are sort of spoken, along the lines of something Johnny Cash might do, but with more of a rock and roll angle to it. 
Act Like You Love Me
Stripped down rockabilly, this is interesting, but not a standout by any means.
Black Jack David
Speaking of stripped down, this has a real folk meets country angle to it.
Can't Do Without You
Now, this is primitive, as the record cover suggests, but it is also classy rock and roll. There is a certain authenticity to it that is a real charm.
Side 2:
                          
Till The Law Says Stop

Pretty standard rockabilly, this is a classy rocker that’s quite effective.

Tell Me Baby
There is a shuffling angle to this along with a raw, under-produced mix. It has an almost punk rock vibe to it in some ways. This is very cool.
In The Deep Dark Jungle
Here is another that makes me think of Johnny Cash to some degree. There are some interesting time changes on this. The cut is interesting and unusual. It’s also intriguing.
Baby Fan The Flame
With an acoustic guitar texture, this is solid rockabilly. It has some cool soloing and a great groove.
$Folding Money
Stripped back rockabilly is on the menu here. This is another solid tune.
Bertha Lou
A bit less stripped down, this is a little more of a mainstream rock and roller.

 

 

 
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