From busking on British Streets for a couple decades to being dubbed "The King of Vintage" by a British newspaper, Si Cranstoun's latest recording (the first I have heard) is a retro-rock release with a touch of rockabilly, blues, R&B and more. With a vibrato in his voice shows a bit of Jackie Wilson influence he kicks off running with the rockabilly-laced "Old School" followed by "Vegas Baby," which is in the spirit of Elvis. "Nighttime" is an offshoot of the Nappy Brown blues nicely delivered followed by the bouncy "Run Free" where he sings of running to free his soul.
"Right Girl" comes off as a pastiche to some of the vocal groups of the fifties, while "Elise The Brazilian," is a delightful novelty with a latin groove with a melodramatic vocal, while "Count on Me" is 60's style country number (think perhaps Porter Wagoner meets Jackie Wilson), and "Around Midnight" is a blues performance with a dash of Sam Cooke in his vocal. "A Christmas Twist" is a bouncy holiday number as he sings everyone have a ball and peace and happiness for all. A honking baritone sax kicks off a cover of "Big Bess," a spirited cover of less known Jimmy Rushing recording followed by another cover, a rendition of Jackie Wilson's "Lover Please."
I am not sure the source of the closing "Happy Birthday" which is not the Birthday song most are familiar with. It includes a booting tenor sax solo. It provides a peppy end to this most entertaining recording that does a fine job of evoking the classic tunes of the fifties and sixties in a most original way.
I received my copy from a publicist. This review appeared in the January-February 2017 Jazz & Blues Reprt (Issue 370). Here is the official video for "Old School."