Though maybe best known as the frontman of UK psychobillies Norm and The Nightmarez, musician/songwriter Norm Elliott has regularly offered ear grabbing side projects and solo adventures venturing various aspects of rock ‘n’ roll. The latest is Elliott Carson & The Preacher Man, a project which sees Norm go back to his rockabilly/rock ‘n’ roll roots embracing numerous inspirations. Debut album, Still Rockin’, has just been unveiled with a collection of songs which prove that the source seed to the so many genres we devour today can still provide the purest incitement for the rocker inside.
Norm has linked up with The Preacher and his dexterously slapped upright bass, the duo bringing Norm’s original songs to life with relish, a soaking of mischief, and a passion for the sounds which sparked their personal creative journeys.
Still Rockin’ opens with I Told Her Not To Do It, the tangy hook immediately escaping Norm’s guitar instantly courting attention and continuing to entice across the track’s infectious stroll. Just as magnetically, The Preacher’s bass aligns its manipulation behind the groove with a bit of a Joe Poovey hue to it.
It is a great start which is swiftly matched by the convicted reminisces of Prison Cell Blues where again the slim but rich mix of guitar, bass and character thick voice weaves the fullest temptation; a potent recipe just as irresistible within Samson & Delilah and the duo’s inimitable rendition of a familiar tale. Melodies coax and evoke whilst rhythms encourage, Norm’s words and tones inviting the imagination into as fertile an activity as that already tempted from the body.
Elvis is never far from being a spark for a Norm song within any release, Boy From Tupelo paying homage to him and the question of whether he is still among the breathing that some ask. There is a touch of Ray Campi to the song which only added to its captivation before I’m Still Rockin’ sauntered in to come to terms with an aging body whilst bearing defiance to any suggestion that encroaching twilight years might chain up the rocker inside.
Pinup Girl is next, its Johnny Burnette-esque, fantasy romancing stomp instant addiction to ears and a swinging body, both lures quickly worked to keen animation again by its successor, Rockin’ In The Corner, and its boogie-woogie embracing shuffle. Both tracks enslaved from first to last note, and increasingly play by play; each consuming attention from movement and instinctive participation through individuality and creative fertility.
The pure pleasure of Happy Like a Peach In a Tree and the unbridled emotion of the Buddy Holly homage of Heartbreaking only escalated the album’s already heady presence, the following Doin’ The Rock ‘n’ Roll and its Bobby Helms feel enticing even lustier responses though all find themselves eclipsed by the outstanding Grizzly Bear. A deviously addictive rocker with transmissible fun in every pore, the track had the room bopping with inescapable tenacity.
The closing Pain In My Heart provides a final slice of compelling rock ‘n’ roll, a lively, spirit raising stomper impossible not to unite with. So the album proved too; from its first to last breath, Still Rockin’ seduced and ignited body and spirit while bridging vintage and modern rockabilly through individual energy and the craft and passions of Elliott Carson & The Preacher Man. The result an album any true rocker will want.
Still Rockin’ is out now via Normal Records; available @ https://normandthenightmarez.bandcamp.com/album/still-rockin
Pete RingMaster 05/03/2021