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Wild Wild Love (Expanded CD Reissue)

Flat Duo Jets

Daniel 13 Label 2017

Review by David Bowling

 

The Flat Duo Jets originated in North Carolina as a two man band; guitarist/vocalist Dexter Romweber and drummer Chris “Crow” Smith. They later added bassist Tony Mayer. They produced a hard core modern rockabilly sound with elements of surf and straight rock added to the mix.

While they released nine studio albums during their existence, it is their first album, Wild Wild Love, that remains their best and most elemental. It is one of the ultimate self-produced garage albums as it was actually recorded in a garage on a direct two-track to tape system. Originally released in 1990, it now returns in an expanded version.

The original album is a live blast of twisted rockabilly built on Romweber’s pulsing guitar runs and Smith’s thumping drums.  The jazzy “Man With The Golden Arm” is transformed into a driving rock classic. “Strut My Stuff” is a guitar lover’s delight.

The band got even more basic with the release of the cassette-only In Stereo. Only 2000 copies were printed but now the six songs have been added to the expanded release. The Leiber/Stoller rock staple “Riot In Cell Block #9” and Buddy Holly’s “Think It Over” are twisted all out of shape and then re-assembled. Even Elvis’ gentle “Love Me” is turned into a vehicle for Ronweber’s guitar fantasies.

The second disc contains 13 outtakes. Songs such as “”Stephane Grapppelli’s “Minor Swing,” Huey Lewis’s “You Made Me Cry,” and staples ranging from “Harlem Nocturne” to “Bumble Bee Boogie” make for a varied above average group of extras.

The Flat Duo Jets created rock and roll at ground level. They were similar to thousands of high school bands, but just more talented. Their music is raw, gritty, and ultimately what rock and roll should be about.

Rating: ****

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