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Music Review: Irishwoman Imelda May stirs up 'Mayhem' with oldies-style set
Imelda May, "Mayhem" (Decca)
Young Irishwoman Imelda May draws inspiration from made-in-the-U.S.A. oldies. "Mayhem" includes hints of Elvis, Gene Vincent, Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson and Peggy Lee as May sings rockabilly, country and cocktail lounge ballads. This is music as timeless as Brylcreem.
Still, May performs with undeniable flair, and her versatile alto always makes it sound like 11 p.m. The arrangements are more ambitious than those of many 1950s throwback bands, and the biggest twist is the reliance on talented trumpeter Dave Priseman, who jazzes things up.
The ballads tend to go on too long, and the uptempo cuts are better, with Al Gare's slap bass providing propulsion. May spits out rat-a-tat vocals on the swinging title tune, "Eternity" benefits from a twangy six-note guitar riff, and "I'm Alive" settles into an appealing south-of-the-border groove.
May wrote 13 of the 15 songs, with romance clearly on her mind. "Happy Days" indeed.
CHECK THIS OUT: All rhythm and sass, the closing "Johnny Got A Boom Boom" is sure to fog up the diner jukebox, showing that the '50s can still sound sexy.