Preview Crazy Like Me by Billy Burnette.
Crazy Like Me by Billy Burnette
Well as they say ‘there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle’ and, judging by this cracking release, Billy Burnette is still on top form. He started his recording career in 1972 and his lineage makes him the possible father of Rockabilly. However, if you want to debate that then when it comes to name-dropping he’s peerless. He’s played with Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Roger Miller and was a member of Fleetwood Mac for nine years. Amongst his song writing credits he’s earned royalties from George Strait, Rod Stewart, Cher, Faith Hill, Greg Allman and an icon called Ray Charles. He still remains in demand playing live in Europe and the USA. Such is his musical odyssey that he’s published a book detailing his journey. This is the accompanying record that includes many of the songs on his timeline.
“Tear It Up”, performed by his father, has been a staple of his live set, it is classic Rockabilly with a drum pattern that places you in Memphis in the mid 1950’s. Against a rocking electric guitar Burnette hollers his stuff as swirling teenage girls attempt to keep their petticoats in place. A roaring start. Next a composition for the Big O roars out – “(All I Can Do Is) Dream You”. It’s here that Burnette’s guitar skills start to become evident. You don’t sit in alongside the people he has unless you know your way around a fret board and so it is here that he strums and picks with fluency and melody.
As the journey continues we take in the Fleetwood Mac years and his take on Peter Green’s “Oh Well”. It is sublime with a beautiful 1970’s guitar sound against an insurgent rhythm. The guitar picks, reverbs and soars. In the meanwhile an upright bass stays in step beside the Rockabilly drums. Riveting.
Some new compositions make the cut including “Ghost Town” with a haunting guitar motif leading us through his tale of a bereft lover. Think John Hiatt meets Tom Petty.
Ray Charles had a hit in 1985 with “Do I Ever Crossed Your Mind”. He reprised this with Bonnie Raitt in 2004. Here he sings this superb ballad against a piano melody and some refined guitar licks. “She’s Going To Win Your Heart” keeps us in the 1980’s with a hit for Billy Raven who took this to #9 on the Billboard Country charts. The pace falls and this piece of Country pop happens around a large dose of Duane Eddy like twang.
Burnette has produced an album of original Rockabilly albeit with 2017 production values. Where it differs to some of the latest purveyors is that the Country influence is never far away with melody hooks, trilling female back up singers and that spellbinding perfect musicianship. Never do you wait for the chorus to come around or a guitar break to relieve the tedium of earnest young men trying too hard.