Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Born to Ride by Radiotones

Born to Ride cover art

Artist: Radiotones
Title: Born to Ride
Catalogue Number: Buzz Records BRS012003
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2003

Glasgow used to be a great Blues city, with the likes of Rev Doc and the Congregation, Don't Panic and the Blues Poets although this seems to have waned in recent years. Now, thank Johnston, the flag is being raised aloft again by the Radiotones.  Looking like they've just been released from a chain gang, this Bluesbunny wonders if he DARE give these guys a poor review! Thankfully, any doubts were quickly allayed. Growling like Metallica's James Hetfield with a mouthful of gravel, Dave Arcari's voice may frighten some, but like the best snake oil salesman, he suckers you in and before long you're wondering how you lived without what he's selling.

Lyrically, these guys cover all the best bases in Delta Blues - Wumen, booze and even fighting with the Devil. With Dave's sandpapered vocal on "Devil Got My Woman", you could even believe he won! The tracks are mainly short (but certainly not sweet) with only 2 clocking in over 3:15, so if one jackhammer riff doesn't suit you, the next one is just around the corner.

One track which breaks the 4 minute barrier is "Troubled Mind". Slinky and sinuous with a glorious call and response between the vocals and Jim Harcus' down and dirty harp playing. Dynamically rising and falling like an alligator biding it's time, then bursting from the swamp for attack, only to slink back for the relatively subdued vocal line. The CD finished with a new slant on Chris Scott's "Hot Muscle Jazz". Here the boys take the track, originally an up-tempo Zydeco tinged toe tapper, and get down and dirty with this muscle bound 4:10 minute tour de force, replete once more with Jim Harcus' howling harmonica and the driving rhythm section provided by Adrian Paterson and Don Mackinnon.

Mixing blues, punk and rockabilly into a heady brew not for the faint hearted, this 13 track CD is a solid slab of outlaw blues spoiling for a fight. Just don't meet them in a dark alleyway!
Review Date: July 23 2007