THE BLACK CRABS - 13 TIMES
SEATTLE

 

 

 

 



A lot of people say the same thing about The Black Crabs. "You guys don't sound like anybody else."
Sure, there's some rockabilly in there, and some rock and roll too. But there's also swing, jazz, and even a taste of spaghetti western. It's a refreshing update to the "authentic reproduction" approach of the rockabilly genre. Their second release, 13 Times, is a case in point. The band moves smoothly from the straight-ahead rockabilly sound of Say Mama to the swinging duet Messin' Around. They deftly navigate the Les Paul-eqsue instrumental Caravan. There's even the tune best heard under the Big Top, both because of its country-circus beat and subject matter (quite possibly the first ever song about corndogs). And when's the last time you heard a washing machine as a kick drum? Check out the hidden track. This mix of genres comes naturally to The Black Crabs. Jonathan Stuart, Tom Forster Jr., and Kirsten Ballweg are experienced musicians and have played with a variety of groups come-60s girl garage (The Hot Rollers), roots (Footstompin' Trio), melodic pop (Nobody Home), and, of course, swing and rockabilly (The Donettes, New York Jimmy and the Jive Five). Originally formed to back Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson, the band was supposed to be only a summer fling. Instead, it transformed into a full-time proposition. Since touring with Wanda in 2004, the Black Crabs have toured the West Coast and Europe - Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and Italy. The Trio has played various festivals including; KEXP's Rockabilly Ball (Seattle) 2005-2008, Bumbershoot (Seattle), The Folk Life Festival (Seattle), International Beer Festival , Issaquah Salmon Days, KSER's Rockabilly Revival, the Summer Jamboree (Italy), Viva Las Vegas (Las Vegas), Hemsby (England) and The Rockin Fifties Fest (Green Bay, Wisconsin).Their first CD"Blast Off"was released in 2005 on Ravenous Records.

ReReview of 13 Times from Blue Suede News issue #85

Seattle's Black Crabs are back with their second release that features a handful of favorites from their dynamic live shows and some fine new tunes. There's Gene Vincent's rocker"Say Mama" that won't let you sit still and the atmospheric stroll "Three Cool Cats", a rare Coasters' cover (B side of "Charlie Brown") that was also in the Beatles' early repertoire, written by Lieber and Stoller. The only other vintage piece is Duke Ellington's "Caravan" a cool drums and guitar lead instrumental with an oriental vibe. Lead singer Johnny 7 shows off his guitar mastery and doubles on piano here - great version! The remaining ten tracks are Jonathan Stuart's own, they are witty and fun, sometimes suggestive and always hip and off the beaten path. "Messin' Around" is a fun duet with upright bass player Kirsten Ballweg that builds upon a 1920s/30s ragtimey feel. And "Corndog" you have to hear for yourself, oh yeah, and wait for the hidden "Robot Love". While the Black Crabs' music is rooted in 50's Rock'n'Roll and Rockabilly with a small peppering of Blues, Country, and Swing, their approach is nothing but contemporary, a compelling recipe.

 

 

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