Wesley Karr & The Automobiles [Rockabilly, 4 piece]
You know you're in for a treat when you see Wesley Karr and his band setting up: old-style microphones, 50s hairstyles, a big double bass and some great looking guitars.
If you are a regular gig-goer, and don't already frequent the growing UK rock'n'roll circuit, Wesley Karr's brand of music will make you sit up and take notice: no thick guitar effects, no spiky electric bass guitar sound; but a rounded "valve sound" and a cohesive rhythm to the songs that has you tapping your foot (and eventually both feet) to their uplifting, melodic and reverb-packed music.
We were treated to well-known classics like "Summertime Blues", "Pink Cadillac", "Folsom Prison Blues", and "That's All Right Mama", and some lesser known but consistently engaging rockabilly and rock'n'roll songs.
The comedy element of this band sets them apart from all the others: Wesley Karr himself was a big influence in Elvis Presley's career, having been over in Memphis during the King's first studio recordings. Veteran guitar legend and right-hand man, Doc Sideways, makes the occasional response and retort, but playing is the Doc's bag; deft, precise, emotional. The stripped-down drum kit and monstrous floor-standing double bass kept up a surprisingly meaty underlying beat, while never sounding over-played. Wesley as front man delivered songs with persuasion and style, with the interspersed anecdotes keeping us smiling until the end.
I came away feeling re-charged and wondering why more bands don't do rock'n'roll - it's the essence of good-time crowd-involving music, and when played somewhere like the Blacksmiths Arms, with its proactive commitment to quality live music every week, you simply can't get a better evening of live music entertainment.
Mac MacLaren, Lemonrock EditorFriday 17 February 2012
Thank you kindly son. Those are mighty fine words, but I'll have you know that where I come from these are modern microphones and hairstyles!
Great gig at the Old Bel Friday, found your website, see you again soon!
Joe & ShirleySaturday 16 July 2011
Thanks Guys. Always a pleasure
My partner, Jane, wanted us to see yet another band playing one of her favourite styles of music, Rockabilly. "Hmmmm", I'm thinking, "I'm REALLY not sure about this!", but off we go anyway to The (superb) Horns in Watford.
It turns out, this was one of the best gig decision I've EVER made! Right from the outset, Wesley entertained the appreciative audience with his anecdotal stories; wry "Southern Gentleman" wit; superb singing and authentic Gretsch-guitar playing and I did find myself wondering how he managed to look so VERY well-kept, bearing in mind the help he offered the young, up-coming Elvis Presley's musical career - LOL!
Doc Sideways played outstanding rhythm & lead guitar lines, firstly on the classic Telecaster then the harder-sounding Strat for the second half of the show. And what a show, with "Five Fold Kiss"'s DRUMMER standing in at no notice on BASS guitar! Darn it - you'd have thought he'd been playing this style of music all his life! Superb drumming from the "real" drummer in the band completed an excellent overall sound for this ensemble.
I had thought I wasn't at all appreciative of this style of music, but I can tell you that the band's renditions of "All Right Mama" and the finale, "Honey Hush", were absolutely OUTSTANDING. The latter number particularly blew me away and made me want to rehearse it with my own band, 'Who Hung The Monkey'.
Whatever you do in your musical life, if you get a chance to see Wesley Karr & The Automobiles (sic!) DO SO! I can't wait to catch them with their usual double-bass player.
Thanks fellas, hot-dickety! See you in the "Hood"!
Mark RobertsonWednesday 2 March 2011
Much obliged Mark,
I get the impression that y'all doubt the veracity of some of my stories? I really don't understand why that would be.
Anyways, It was a pleasure meeting you.
Y'all come back now, y'hear?
Jim and I will be seeing Wesley Karr &the automobile again we loved Wesley's different style with the 50's mike and American accent the band we playing "proper" Rockabilly music .the atmosphere was very friendly I have the bands card so I buy their latest CD
Mary O'HanlonSunday 23 January 2011
Thanks Mary. It's always nice to meet new fans and I appreciate that this wasn't a local gig for you and Jim. We look forward to seeing you at future gigs and I'll keep you posted on our recording progress for the CD
I've seen this band a few times now and always had a really good time, so I was really pleased when I heard that they were playing so close to home.
Wes and the boys were on top form as usual with their blend of Wes's over the top vocals and Doc Sideways' blistering guitar. They also had a new double bass player, I think his name was something like 'Texas Tennessee Slim', sorry if I've got that wrong guys. And boy, can he play! You don't often hear real slap bass, but this guy has got it dead right. I really didn't think it was possible to slap that fast.
Wes tells amusing stories in between songs and I must admit that I was a bit worried that I might have heard them all before, but he's always got new stories and even if you've heard one before he tells them different every time. It's almost as if he's making them up as he goes along.
They seem to have added a lot of new songs since the last time I saw them and there were even a few that I recognised. They did a great version of Summertime Blues which started with some really good drumming from Grandpa, who apparently is 97 years old, but if you ask me he only looks about 19.
The highlight of the night was after they played their last song and after much whooping and yelling for more the band launched into a stonking version of Honey Hush. It doesn't get any better than this.
JJSunday 7 November 2010
Actually, Its 'Memphis Montana Texas Slim' but you were close. Thanks for taking the time to write a review JJ. Glad you enjoyed it, we had a blast.