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ROUNDBELLY & FRIENDS

The Many Mood Swings Of Roundbelly & Friends—
Roundbelly Music Australia.



Tracks: You Better Want Me; The Big House; Bronc Rider; Going Home; Big Bad Pappa; Reality; God’s In My Soul; Nobody Wants Me; Oh Baby Goodbye; Aw Heck; Why I’m Not Handsome; So Many Years. Running time: 36:55.

With Australia being the other end of the earth to the UK not a great deal of information about their music scene comes to our notice, so any albums are like newsletters. This month the mail contained two albums from Roundbelly & Friends, an eight-piece band new to me.

This album is a collection of songs covering the musical styles of country, contemporary blues, bluegrass, gospel, and comedy. Certainly many mood swings as the title advertises. All the material is original, written by Roundbelly or his friends who are shown as the musicians in the credits. I have no information to their status, full time band, professional musicians that get together to record, or musicians with day jobs. Whatever it is, their music will hold your full attention and the chance of catching a live performance is worth ringing the date on your calendar.

Should they ever reach our shores the music on this album would go down well in our big city music venues. If they played London I would suggest the Earls Court area (a Mecca for Australians living over here, unless things have changed since I left) to remind fellow Australians of home. You only have to cast your eyes over the instruments shown against the eight musicians to know all the mood swings can be accomplished, then when you play the CD it is confirmed. Of the eight, Steve Rosen on banjo, mandolin, lead guitar, harmony vocals, co-songwriter, artwork and cover design is shown as from Chicago, USA. So I assume the other seven are from Australia.

The album sleeve contains information about every track. One track “Why I’m Not Handsome”, a humorous up-tempo lament, caught my attention because it brought to mind a certain solo artist I will not name but when I see him I will suggest he use it as his signature song. One thing is for sure, Roundbelly & Friends will never be short of work while there are people that enjoy a good night out and the opportunity to sing-along.

Standout cuts: “You Better Want Me” (country/bluegrass); “Going Home (truck driving song); “Big Bad Pappa” (country/blues); “Oh Baby Goodbye” (country. waltz).

Country Wishes—Roundbelly Music Australia.

Tracks: Aussie Country Girl; You’ll Want My Lovin’; Daddy I Love You; The Heartache; Goin’ Home; The Wishing Waltz; Used-To-Be; Just ‘Cause I’m Lonely; If It Ain’t Got Swing; In The Doghouse Again; My Song Is A Prayer; I Fell In Love Once More; Reprise: The Wishing Waltz (Extended Play). Running time: 45:59

This is the second and latest album from Australians Roundbelly & Friends and is basically a white label version of the final product. On their other album reviewed this month the material is original. Checking the names of the songwriters on this album, seven songs are by Roundbelly and two by James Langan, one by Bob Tait—all members of the band on the other release. On this latest Leah Grice has a song also Darren Davidson, so has there been some changes in the line up, there is also a very good bass baritone singer present.

Their first offered the listener a sample of the band’s musical capabilities. Now they have gone for a full country music album and it is a good one. I had not heard any of the songs before, the band do not try to sound American, and they prove country music is not a closed shop product of the USA. No matter what your country music taste, this album will have songs to meet with your approval. The hardest job I had was selecting the cuts, because any 1 to 12 would fit.

Suggested cuts: “My Song Is A Prayer”—a very commercial gospel number; “You’ll Want My Lovin’“—country/do-wop; “If It Ain’t Got Swing”—line dance; “In The Doghouse Again”—straight country.

By IAN McQUEEN