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Various Artists

Rod Willis & The Chic Connection (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

This 10-inch vinyl record has some intriguing music. It's a nice blend of sounds. Some tracks work better for me than other do, but it all has its merits. This lands in the territory between rockabilly, country and skiffle. The record comes with a nice booklet and a postcard.

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Track by Track Review
Side One
Rod Willis – Somebody's Been Rocking My Baby

There is a healthy helping of rockabilly in the mix here. The skit section mid-track is a bit odd, and I'm not crazy about the backing vocals, but this is a fun tune.

Don Johnston –The Whipmaster
This cut is also theatrical to a large degree. It's also dramatic and intriguing.
Pat Kelley – The Stranger Dressed In Black
This is more of a mainstream rock and roller. It's a lot of fun. It has a tasty piano solo, too.
Cliff Crawford – A Night Of Love
An acoustic guitar and vocal track, this has a nice groove and some classic hooks.
Rod Willis - Will Travel
This is more of a mainstream old-school rock and roller. It's another classy tune.
The Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group - Cotton Song
A bouncy old-time music concept is on the menu here. The recording isn't the greatest on this number. The tune doesn't work that well for me, really.
Side Two
Rod Willis- The Cat

There is a sound of a vicious cat at the start of this. The song works out from there with a vocal-dominated bit of spookiness. That holds it for the start. After a scream, they turn this out into some killer rockabilly. This is a fun spooky rock and roller.

Pat Kelley - She's A Devil
A doo wop rocker, this is fun, but not as strong as the tune that preceded it. Then again, part of that is due to the strength of that other song.
Cliff Crawford - Teenage Tears
Another that's more of a doo wop tune, this has a balladic approach.
Rod Willis - Old Man Mose
The driving groove on this is so classy and so fun. I love the guitar sound on this tune. The vocal arrangement is all style, too. This is one of the highlights here.
Don Johnston - Whistle Bait
With a lot of whistling, this feels a bit like a novelty song. The lyrical theme doesn't hold up what well in the modern era, either.
The Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group - Freight Train
I like this tune quite a bit more than the previous number from this act. For one thing the recording quality is better. This has a classic structure and arrangement. There are some bits of whistling that are a little annoying at times, though.



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