Picks and Pans Review: Let's Buzz
Roots-rock fans will find plenty to savor on this third album from the San Diego-based band whose name comes from the old Richard Boone TV Western character on Have Gun Will Travel. Lead vocalist-guitarist Dave Gonzales, bassist Thomas Yearsley and drummer Brian Fahey, with help from, among others, ex-Little Richard tenor sax player extraordinaire Lee Allen and drummer Scott Campbell (once a regular member of the band), mix rockabilly, R&B, blues and swing into a gutsy roadhouse revue.
Starting with Ronnie Earl's hardworking guitar number, "Follow Your Heart," this high-energy trio continues to cut loose on "Mercy" and on Gonzales's instrumental "Untamed Melody," featuring a rocking guitar solo laid over a swinging backbeat.
Other knockouts are the snake-charm bluesy "The Thing," written by Yearsley, who plays stand-up bass, the better to complement his athletic performances onstage. Gonzales's playing is slicker than George Thorogood's or Stevie Ray Vaughan's, but he brings home the raw licks on "I've Been Down Before," which he wrote, and the driving title cut by "Juke" Logan.
Having spent the past five years touring with the likes of Vaughan, Los Lobos and the Fabulous Thunderbirds when they weren't gigging around the country on their own, the Paladins have honed a most diggable roots rock act. (Alligator)