Ronnie Dawson rocks. There just ain’t no doubt about it. The man has it from the tip of his flattop all the way down to his boogie shoes. That much has been clear since the ’50s, when he was a young rock ‘n’ roll prodigy cutting the rockabilly classic “Rockin’ Bones” (a song the Cramps recorded much later, helping to turn even more people on to the Dawson beat).
Hot on the comeback trail in recent years, Dawson seems to be enjoying a revived flurry of touring and recording, and Just Rockin’ & Rollin’ finds the rockabilly legend in fine form. This record, like his other recent releases, never strays too far from the form that Dawson has perfected. Most of these songs truly swing, and the playing is hot. Songs such as “You Got A Long Way To Go”, with its rockin’ beat and tasty licks, will make this set irresistible to rockabilly fans. The charming “High On Love” and the Buddy Holly-ish “Veronica” fit nicely in the mix along with the high-octane R&B and rockabilly. The weakest cuts are probably “Club Wig Wam” and “Mexigo”, but they’re not bad, just average — though I bet even those cuts rock in his live set.
Indeed, while Dawson’s recordings are always welcome occurrences, he needs to be seen in a live setting to be duly appreciated. Certain performers get so lost within their own music and energy that they seem almost incapable of controlling themselves; Dawson is such a performer. He’s so caught up in his own smokin’ sounds that he seems about ready to blast off to moon! It’s impossible not to get drawn in by his infectious enthusiasm.
Anything carrying Dawson’s name is worth seeking out; Just Rockin’ & Rollin’ is as fine a place to start as any. Put this wax on loud, grab your lover, and twist around the room to the crazy sounds of Ronnie Dawson!