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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Kin

Rondo Sessions Volume I

Review by Mark Johnson

Wow! I was surprised to receive this album in the mail. But I’m so glad that I did. This is the first true album with a 2011 release date that I’ve received.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Black is the Color (of My True Love’s Hair)

Sometimes you just know when an album is going to be good! That’s exactly how you feel after “Black is the Color” kicks this one off. The sound and impressions are incredible. If this is your first time hearing the band, like me, then you will probably think, as I did, that you are hearing a young Sting. Both the vocals and the music sound like something he might have done with this classic.  The soft patted drums are fantastic. The keys and guitars make this the best song on the album.

Chocolate Jesus

The Tom Waits classic “Chocolate Jesus” is well preformed. It’s hard to compete with Waits and his ability to create a mood, but they do a good job. They needed a little of that New Orleans piano and thump, like Joe Bonamassa did with “Jockey Full of Bourbon.” The washboard effect is cool, though.

Coming Home
“Coming Home” has a cool beat and plenty of rhythm. It’s jazzy and danceable.
Feeling Good
This song is well-named, as it will have you feeling good. Their take on this classic has a lot of synthesizers and sounds very electric.
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Another one of the best songs on the album is the classic “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” The piano and that Sting sounding voice is a great match.
Lonesome Old Town
I’ve been talking about Sting a lot, so why shouldn’t these guys cover a song he also covered. “Lonesome Old Town” is one of those songs. The upbeat tempo and drums make this so much fun despite the lyrics. The kazoo and bells really add to the flavor.
In the Dark
This will take you back a ways to early jazz. It features great music that is well performed.
How do you improve on a song which has been covered so many times? Well, they did it with the Cy Coleman classic “Witchcraft,” by adding a few new twists. The bluesy guitar, mean streak drums and bass give it an even darker side than the lyrics intend. This is another of the best songs on the album.
How High the Moon
“How High the Moon” opens with cool guitars and percussion. You’d never know this was once sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Gloria Gaynor. The drums are excellent. This is a very good interpretation of this classic. The bass is excellent and turns this into a rock song.
Who is He (and What is He to You)?
This is easily the best song on the album. It has a funky Boz Scaggs, Black Keys sound to it, until it stops and slows down to an almost Tom Waits beat, then picks up again. The keyboard effects and synth backup is tremendous. The organ lights this one up well.
Real Real
Nina Simone’s song, “Real Real,” is a whole lot of fun to end the album with and leave you with your feet tapping.
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