Blabber’n’Smoke first became aware of Tami Neilson back in 2015 when we reviewed her album Dynamite! The exclamation mark in the title was well placed as the disc was an excellent slice of revved up rockabilly and hard-core country honky tonk. Chickaboom! really deserves two exclamation marks as it further revs up the energy.
Bequiffed with a tremendous beehive, Neilson is unashamedly retro. The songs here sneak around the likes of Etta James, Mavis Staples (indeed, she pays tribute to the Sister on Sister Mavis), Wanda Jackson and Patsy Cline although she can also deliver an excellent slice of voodoo rock’n’roll in the manner of Screaming Jay Hawkins on the gutsy You Were Mine.
Call Your Mama sets things rolling, its title recalling of course Etta James’ Tell Mama and Neilson does come across here like Etta fronting The Cramps. And that’s part of the beauty of the album, the fifties and sixties styles driven with a riveting studio gloss, the guitars swathed in reverb and twang, recalling the rockabilly revivals of the eighties and onward.
Neilson is a force of nature on the ballsy Ten Tonne Truck as she adds a lascivious laugh to the choruses and 16 Miles Of Chain allows her to bellow magnificently over some fabulous junkyard blues. Queenie, Queenie meanwhile adopts the Dixie Cups’ Iko Iko rythym and her tribute to Mavis Staples is rollicking and slapping rockabilly deluxe. She steps out from her comfort zone in the early sixties romance of Any Fool With A Heart which has an Everley’s touch to it while the closing song, Sleep, is a lullaby with a light touch with a slight sense of Santos And Johnny to it along with a Disney like naiveté.
With ten songs all blasted out in half an hour, Chickaboom! is tremendous fun. Do join in.