Let The Good Times Roll is a title that evokes many things – from American bluesman Louis Jordan to rhythm and blues musician Earl King. From now on there’s a brand new release that goes under that name, with a retro sound but absolutely grounded in the present, by Oklahoma rock ’n’ roller JD McPherson. Produced by Mark Neill (does Brothers by the Black Keys ring a bell?) this 11-track album follows McPherson’s successful debut album, Signs and Signifiers, released in 2010 which earned him an award for Best rock/hard rock album at the 2012 Independent Music Awards.
If you still don’t know this talented guy, you may have understood that he’s into 50s sounds – rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues. As a kid, he used to listen to jazz and Delta blues and during high school he discovered Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin but above all Buddy Holly, then Little Richard, soul music and Jamaican rocksteady. And now he says Pixies, T-Rex and Wu Thang Clan are among his influences, too. His eclectic tastes are the reason why his album, although being rooted in the music from the last mid-century, definitely isn’t a museum piece. It’s not some kind of historical falsification but instead a sort of juxtaposition of classic and new. Just like in figurative art an apprentice absorbs and embraces the style of his master and goes on to produce his own art. After all, apart from being a singer and songwriter, JD is a visual artist and has worked as a middle school art teacher. He lost his job right after his first album came out, due to job cuts in his department. The rest is history.
Let The Good Times Roll does what its title preaches; it’s a happy and enthralling album. JD’s voice is at times sharp (Head Over Heels), at others soulfully mellow (Precious) and strikes a blues edge in Bridgebuilder, the irresistible ballad McPherson wrote with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. The title track will make you drum your fingers on the desk even in your darkest days, with its upbeat shuffles, flamboyant guitar, insistent bass guitar and effervescent, roiling piano chords. Brass honks in It’s All Over But The Shouting are a throw-back to the 50s, but the bass in It Shook Me Up comes right out of the 21st century. And it’s sexier than ever!