The Respectables could rest on the laurels at this point. They’ve accomplished a lot. They’ve been a known commodity since the early 1990’s, receiving great praise and even opening for The Rolling Stones, as well as playing numerous stages throughout the world. It isn’t because they’re lucky. It’s because they are good, if not damn good. They make no secret of their love for rock and roll on the new album The Power of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but they also make their mark on listeners touching on both country and blues, and they pull off each form without ever straining to make you believe. The album’s title song is the first track and they hold your attention with an assortment of guitar flourishes courtesy of respected guest guitarist Waddy Watchel as well as swinging drums, solid vocals, and a chorus that brings everything to a higher level. The video for the song is worth seeking out as too – it accentuates everything they do with a visual charm that makes the song even more enjoyable.
“The Shotgun Seat” is a little more boisterous than the already other boisterous numbers included on The Power of Rock ‘n’ Roll and it’s infectious fun from the beginning. The band makes frequent use of backing vocals to strengthen the primary vocal and one of the best examples of that virtue in their arsenal comes with this cut. “Wheel in My Hand” goes blues, eschewing the rock leanings of the earlier cuts, and the band is just as comfortable, if not more so, with the form. Bernard Fowler’s production skills serve the band well time after time on this album and the clean, uncluttered sound of their presentation here is one of the best examples of that on this album.
“Mardi Gras” has a nice easy going push, the vocals really digging into a virtual travelogue of a visit to the Queen City, New Orleans, and they capture some of the feel of the city’s famous weeklong festival without the song sounding like some sort of hokey put on. I love the arrangement; it shows what the first paragraph of this review talked about, their continued willingness to reach for new sounds and try something uniquely their own. “As Good As Love Gets”, however, puts an exclamation point on that trait. Jeff Bova’s string arrangement makes this great song something exceptional, but the vocal matches its excellence with deeply felt emotion that never falls into melodrama.
The final two songs “Limousine” and “Highway 20” goes blues in the first tune and country in the second and the juxtaposition concludes the album on an intimate, closely held note. You can imagine these songs working in a small venue or larger alike, but it never sounds anything less than natural. Instead, the two tracks complement each other enormously and the main strength of each resides in the intensely felt vocals that characterize so many of the earlier songs. The Respectables make it all sound so easy and you can’t help but love every minute of this eleven song album.
OFFICIAL VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCcty_OEC0k