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Album Review

JIM ALLCHIN
Overclocked

I remember the first time I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan. All I could think was, man, that's some guitar! The first time I heard Jim Allchin, ditto. Maybe he isn't Stevie Ray Vaughan, but he's Jim Allchin all over the freakin' place and I figure if you have a love for the rockin' side of R&B and rock 'n' roll, you'll feel the same. Allchin can play! I know you've heard it before, but he's a step beyond. I swear. You love jammin' guitar, you have got to hear this guy.

Great thing is, he isn't all guitar. Allchin surrounds himself with one of the best bands I've heard in some time, from background singers to horn section to some of the best blues players I've had the pleasure of hearing, and makes it work! Take a trip with me here and I'll explain. You want boogie, Overclocked rocks (and steamrolls) you right back into the fifties and sixties, when boogie ruled the clubs. And I mean steamrolls you! If that guitar got on the dance floor, it'd be knocking everyone else off, it's so powerful. Listen to it loud? Be prepared for your ears to bleed. Now hear me, it isn't the volume, it's the power. The way to use it is to dole it out in the right places and the right place is Overclocked, trust me. The swinging and bluesy Willow Tree should tell you that Allchin is no one-style kind of guy, the jazz-influenced Hammond sound mixing with smooth background harmonies good enough to have everyone in whatever place they're playing bobbing their heads. You like fifties-era R&B? Allchin and band nail it on Back In the Swamp and change gears completely on the following Don't Tell Me What To Do, a song that does remind me of Stevie Ray, crunching rhythm guitar driving the song to its logical conclusion. And blues? Why the hell not? Keely Whitney steps in to slow things down, laying her powerful, wavering and bluesy voice over basic combo, giving way on the break to more Allchin guitar magic. Break time next, folks, the instrumental Fall laying out Pete Carr-like riffs like you won't believe (Ever hear Carr's Not a Word On It? You should.). It's a beautiful break and a great setup for the jivin' Dr. J, a song right out of The Juke Jumpers playbook (and if you haven't heard The Juke Jumpers, you should. Start with Border Radio, part of the 1980-1981 release. It's a killer.). Mr. Unknown has a fifties rock 'n' roll ballad flavor to it that I find almost enchanting (I say 'almost' because I'm a man and not some love-infused teenager, but when I was one, I loved leaning against my girl of choice and smelling her hair to this kind of music). Back to Stevie Ray territory with Flirt, which has this odd eighties chord progression or something (It's probably just me). Whitney steps back in to duet it out with Allchin on the medium tempo love song, Perfect Game, and the upbeat rocker Just Playin' With Me takes over from there, the full combo getting in on the act (the ending is smokin'!). Then, standard blues on The One sets up the closer, the light-jazz-loungey Opening My Eyes to Love, a surprise in its floating instrumental beauty. Most players would end it with a bang and, in a way, Allchin does (his guitar is amazing), but it is as far from the earbleeding Overclocked as you can imagine.

Whew! My fingers hurt. Music like this makes me pound without realizing it. The rockin' tracks, anyway.

Listen to me when I say that this is blues but it isn't. This is beyond blues. Jim Allchin? You'll be hearing more about him. If I was you, though, I would be checking him out right away. Sort of beating the rush, if you know what I mean. He is the kind of guy when you mention him at a party, you get quizzical looks, but at the next party, you get slaps on the back. That's called building your musical cachet. What I call it is damn good stuff. Damn good.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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